Geo News has reported that that, all mobile phone companies of Pakistan have collectively blocked 7 millions SIMs in one shot, which were either un-registered or were associated with fake information.
This is really a big blow on Pakistan’s Telecom sector; 7 million mobile phone connections going dead in a single go is maybe the largest ever blockage of cellular SIMs in the world. These numbers of SIMs counted as 8.23 percent of the total running connections in Pakistan.
Absence of 7 Million cellular customers will cause heavy losses to mobile companies; estimates say that this loss could reach as high as Rs. 10 Billion per month.
Zubair Kasuri, reporting for ‘Geo News’ said that senior officials from all cellular companies, Mobilink, Ufone, Telenor, Warid Telecom, CMPak, have confirmed that they have carried out this action of blocking the said amount of SIMs. Quoting officials from Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, Mr. Kasuri said they have also confirmed the compliance of unregistered SIM blockage. He further said that the process of blocking the un-registered SIM will continue until the last un-registered SIM will be blocked in the country.
Now cellular costumers in the country have dropped down to 78 million, after today’s action.
Zubair Kasuri further revealed that a meeting has been called upon in PTA headquarters, Islamabad, where CEO’s of all cellular companies are gathering to further finalize the future action plan.
While quoting a senior official of a cellular company, Mr. Kasuri said that cellular companies will exert pressure to cut down or remove this tax of Rs. 20 per SIM verification by NADRA.
It merits mentioning here, that NADRA charges Rs. 20 for each number’s verification from cellular companies. Now there is another question if NADRA’s data is authentic enough to be relied upon?
Earlier on there were news on ARY, Dawn and Daily Times that the decision for blocking the connections was left pending until May 31st, 2008.
Update: In ‘Daily Jang’ (May 24th, 2008) Ibrar Mustafa has reported that cellular companies, PTA and Ministry of information Technology have agreed on a point that from July 1st, 2008 all new mobile connections will be activated only after verification. That means, current pre-active SIMs will be no more available in the market.
Update: Today (May 24th, 2008) one of my friend working at Mobilink Call center told me that there was not a single complain regarding the blockage of SIMs. Apparently, either cellular companies didn’t block these SIMs or they blocked their in-active SIMs just to meet the formalities… Who knows!
Update: Dawn today (June 1st 2008) reported that cellular companies have blocked 5.6 million unregistered SIMS, and that the cellular companies need 3 to 4 weeks in order to completely kill all unregistered SIMs.