With some two million SIM cards remaining unregistered by the 1 January 2018 deadline that had been set by Papua New Guinea’s ‘SIM Card Registration Regulation’, an extension has been granted which now gives subscribers until 23 January to provide their details or risk being disconnected. According to local press outlet the Post-Courier, Charles Punaha, head of local telecoms regulator the National Information and Communications Technology Authority (NICTA), confirmed the number of SIMs that are still unregistered, adding that a detailed statement regarding the matter would be published this week. In the meantime, the decision to push back the deadline comes after acting Prime Minister Charles Abel consulted with Communications, Information Technology and Energy Minister Sam Basil, with the latter having received advice from the NICTA.
Commenting on the development, Mr Abel was cited as saying: ‘Mr Basil and I have considered the issues surrounding the SIM Card Registration Regulation, and I am fully aware of the implications of registration deadline … The extension to 23 January will minimise the potential for disruptions to phone users while ensuring network security is enhanced.’ In addition, the acting PM said that he was aware of cases filed by citizens in the National Court which raised the issue of the reasonableness of the registration deadline on people in remote and rural areas. With regards to such issues Mr Abel noted: ‘The Government will continue to maintain consultation with communities in remote and rural areas to enact solutions so that people are not inconvenienced.’