Dead SIM

On April 27, 2023, all post-paid and pre-paid phone subscribers who did not register their SIM cards will be simply out of reach and thus the number you dialed will be out of service.

Of the 168,977,773 subscribers all over the country, only 66,220,334 subscribers have registered their SIM cards, according to the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT), in the run-up to the deadline, the DICT however is hoping that more will register their SIM cards.

The low turnout is quite alarming considering the length of time earmarked for the SIM card registration that is seen to minimize criminality. With this in sight, the government may have to extend the SIM Registration Act that will end on April 26 amid the low turnout reported by the telecommunications giants led by Smart, Globe, and DITO. But DICT says otherwise: No Extension!

Should the millions of Filipinos will lose their communication services, for a moment it will affect their daily lives and most probably will have to make use of the Internet for their daily transactions.

Without handheld communication services even for a day, businesses stand to lose millions of pesos and the lives of the Filipinos will be greatly affected. The SIM Registration Act, which aims to curb fraud and other forms of cybercrime.

12 days before the April 26 deadline, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) said only 33.87 percent or 29,379,407 subscribers of Globe’s 87,873,936 subscribers have registered; 50.90 percent or 33,751,577 subscribers of Smart’s 67,995,734 subscribers have registered; and 33.90 percent or 5,073,482 subscribers of DITO’s 13,108,103 subscribers have registered.

With more than 100 million unregistered SIM cards out there, the task at hand is just enormous. With the requirements to register one’s phone such as the identification requirement, criminal elements will not simply participate in the SIM Registration Act. To them, particularly those wanted by the government for crimes already committed in the past – it’s like giving away yourself to the authorities.

With more than 100 million subscribers without communication services, telecoms will also lose potential profits unless of course the subscribers will be compelled to register their SIM cards and reactivate their post-paid or pre-paid SIM cards.

But will the exercise resolve fraud, cybercrime, and other forms of criminality? With the extensive and free use of the Internet, one can make calls anywhere in the world with the use of the Messenger App anytime without passing through the stringent registration act. Communication services is a necessity in a free world and to stifle this via a SIM Registration Act does not bode well with other Filipinos.

With free calls via Internet, subscribers will have no qualms losing their communications services from the three telecoms. No amount of incentives will prompt them to reactivate their SIM cards since it will save them precious money.

In the meantime, after April 26, unless one registered a SIM card – “the number you dialed is out of service.”

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