PTA, cellular phone cos seek subscribers’ help
By Muhammad Yasir
The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and all cellular phone companies are once again seeking the cooperation of millions of subscribers who are bound to face the tough exercise to block extra connections against their identity card number
The drive ‘SIM Information System-668’ recently launched in a move to rectify and to amend the subscriber’s data has proved a ‘Pandora’s Box’ for a significant number users who have found many non-obtained numbers of various cellular phone companies registered on their name.
On the other hand, there are also users who have found their SIM unregistered on the companies’ network despite their submission of proper documents at the franchise or retailers shop of particularly cellular operators.
This revelation raised many questions against the credibility of the networks that spend millions of rupees on advertisement of their different services but apparently failed to collect the accurate data of their subscribers through their retail outlets in the face of stiff competition.
However, operators have to carry out extra ordinary operations in order to rectify data of their subscribers amid unending competition among them that could also be possible with the collaboration of their users.
According to PTA, this is the last phase to correct the subscriber’s information on the networks of the relevant cellular phone companies that could be tiresome and long but save the users from misuse of their Computerised National Identity Card (NIC) numbers.
Previously, the telecom watchdog and cellular operator have launched a long drive to remove unregistered and unauthorised SIMs and blocked more than 11.15 million connections in 2008. Afterward the new SIM verification system was launched earlier this year in February, which is centralised and is claimed to be safe from any misuse of NIC and SIM.
PTA officials said that the newly SIM information system may be hectic for the customers but it is an opportunity for them to get their SIM registered and get rid of unregistered connections.
As per the new system, the customers could get the information through sending two rupees cost SMS on 668 and if the reply contains extra phone numbers of various cellular phone companies that are not obtained by tem then they have to cancel them all by filling the form at respective cellular phone companies franchises or retail outlets.
If a person has five extra connections of five different mobile phone companies, then he has to visit the franchises of all the mobile phone companies in order to remove all the non-obtained number against their NIC number. A customer has to fill the form along and submit a form and NIC photo copy along with the original form that definitely sounds tiring, time and a bit money consuming as well.
Although, the limited number of customers have done information inquiry on the given number but the number of complaints are significant. The customers across the country became resented to know about the extra connections on their NIC numbers because they fear that their connections could be misused particularly in the prevailing uncertain and poor law and order situation in the country. Officials of various cellular phone companies told that the customers although not in big numbers are coming at their outlets after they came to know about their extra connections, adding the numbers are increasing day by day.
Customers may also suffer possible rush at the outlets of various cellular phone companies if the new drive is advertised through media despite majority of them also know that ‘use of SIM without proper documents or registration on the user’s name is crime’.
Chairman Pakistan Telecom-munication Authority Dr Muhammad Yaseen told Daily Times that all operators were asked to facilitate the customers by increasing the number of franchises and workers in it. He also hoped that the customers would visit the relevant franchise to correct their data as this is the final and safest process of SIM verification and registration.
There will be no such drive again as the SIM verification system through National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) is the accurate source of SIM registration, he added.