Papua New Guinea’s Independent Consumer and Competition Commission (ICCC) has called for the recently-ended SIM registration process to be extended, the Post Courier reports. With ICCC commissioner and CEO Paulus Ain claiming that an assessment had found most people in rural regions had still to register their details, he has suggested a six-month extension, citing the difficulties faced by those in such areas in getting to a location where they can provide the necessary information. In making the case for the extension, the ICCC executive argued that subscribers were not being ‘fairly represented’, adding: ‘We are representing the mass of the consumers by informing the government and the operators that responsible agencies have not done well by getting consumers registered on time.’
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, at the passing of the registration deadline at the end of last month, Charles Punaha, the chief executive of the National Information and Communications Technology Authority (NICTA), said the telecoms regulator was ‘not bluffing’ when it said it would insist that unregistered SIM cards are deactivated. At the time, Mr Punaha claimed that subscribers had been given ‘sufficient time’ to register, and confirmed that inspectors would be visiting all three of the nation’s cellcos – Digicel PNG, Telikom and bmobile-Vodafone – to access their databases with a view to verifying that the numbers of SIM cards not registered had been deactivated as of midnight on 30 April. Operators faced a fine of PGK50,000 for each unregistered SIM that they failed to deactivate.