Cellcos to call for more time for re-verification of SIMs

5 Jan 2015

Pakistan’s cellular providers are unable to meet the 28-day deadline for the re-verification of the nation’s pre-paid SIMs, local news outlet Dawn writes, citing an industry source. The interior ministry ordered the re-verification after it was discovered that terrorists involved in the attack on a school in Peshawar last month had used biometric-verified SIMs for communication. With more than 140 million active SIMs in Pakistan, around 90% of which are pre-paid, the country’s cellcos are expected to call for an extension of 150-200 days to carry out the order, saying that they will be unable to meet the current deadline without disconnecting vast numbers of innocent mobile users. Representatives from Mobilink, Ufone, Telenor, Warid and Zong are due to meet with the Interior Minister, the Minister of State for IT and Telecommunications and the head of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to discuss the problem. An unnamed telecom official was quoted by the paper as saying: ‘The operators will apprise the government of their inability to re-verify over 100 million pre-paid SIMs in such a short time. We will seek a realistic period for the purpose.’