More than 100M subscribers risk deactivation
WHEN the registration of the subscriber identity module (SIM) cards ends on April 26, more than 100 million celphone subscribers would have inactive or “Dead SIM.”
The specter of millions of people losing their communication services after the deadline period is expected to leave the whole country in a tailspin mostly affecting the private and business sectors.
Telecommunication giants, Globe and PLDT, reported that only 30 to 40 percent, respectively, have already complied with the Republic Act No. 11934 or the SIM Registration Act, which aims to curb fraud and other forms of cybercrime.
At presstime, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) reported the following:
As of the last Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) update last April 11, the number of SIM card registrations has reached 66,220,334, which is just 39.41 percent of the total SIM card subscribers at 168,977,773. If there will be no deadline extension, millions of subscribers will lose their communication services.
Meanwhile, the DICT said there would be no extension of the SIM card registration deadline which ends April 26.
This, amid the appeal for an extension from Smart Communications, Globe Telecom and DITO Telecommunity – to extend the registration period as millions of subscribers rush to register their numbers.
In a statement, the DICT said: “However, at this point, there is no extension of SIM registration.”
Under the SIM Registration Law, the deadline could be extended to up to 120 days.
The DICT encouraged the public to register their SIMs to provide law enforcement agencies the necessary tools to crack down shadowy elements using their celphones to commit crimes. It said the measure is part of the government’s effort to improve national security, curb fraudulent activities such as SMS-related scams, and identity theft.
Non-registration of SIM cards would result in the deactivation of SIMs, barring subscribers from receiving and sending calls and text messages as well as accessing mobile applications and digital wallets.
The DICT said the SIM Registration Act places “primacy on the fundamental rights of Filipinos and is replete with safeguards to ensure the confidentiality and security of user data.” “The DICT is one with telcos in ensuring that Filipinos enjoy safe and secure mobile phone services through the holistic implementation of the SIM Registration Law.”
Romero sees ‘disruption’ to economy
Meanwhile, former president of Pampanga Chamber of Commerce Rene Romero said “if the government and the telcos will fail to get the target percentage of SIM registration, I can say that this is another kind of disruption in the lives of Filipinos and the state of our local economy.”
“The way of communicating will be different if not disrupted. There will be a short period of confusion and many will be lost and disconnected. This will affect business and other sectors.”