By Muhammad Yasir (Daily Times report)
The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has revised the limit for purchase of SIMs from 50 to five for one individual in its amended Subscribers Antecedents Verification Regulations.
According to the new rule issued on Tuesday, an individual can get subscription of five SIMs – prepaid or postpaid—on one Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC) from different or one cellular phone companies.
The authority has issued its new orders following the direction of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, who asked the authority to stop illegal sale in Balochistan and restrict one subscriber to five SIMs.
Previously an individual could purchase 10 SIMs of one subscriber, that is, 50 from five different cellular phone companies in total.
Officials of the cellular phone companies feared of blocking millions of SIMs if the orders will be implemented on overall subscribers’ base as there are scores of individuals having many SIMs registered on their CNICs.
However, they will be happy complying with the new directives for the sale of new subscribers as soon as the authority formulates the mechanism or Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
On the contrast, analysts of the telecom sector said the cleansing of illegal and unregistered SIMs must be vital for existing subscribers’ base totaling 112 million.
The new regulations will have a negative impact for cellular phone companies though it will help authorities to stop the illegal sale and misuse of mobile phone particularly in criminal activities.
They said that the telecom authority along with the operator may embark on a drive to implement these new regulations in the cellular sector and on the other hand, there will be no targets to be achieved if the directives are issued for new subscribers.