Telco's and NADRA still to agree on Financial Value for New Verification System

simWith only 1 day left for the launch of New System of Activating SIMs after verification of customers’ data through NADRA NIC cards, while TVCs are already on, apparently we may see imperfections in the system, especially in earlier days.

These shortcomings are not at technical level from some of operators (who are reportedly not ready for the system, and are warned by PTA, as per a news item published in DAWN), but they are specifically of financial level.
We have learned that Cellular companies and NADRA are still to decide financial value of NADRA services that cellular companies will be using for data verification.

A senior official from NADRA requesting anonymity told us that they are still working on the finances, however, system is ready and cellular companies can use it anytime. He further commented that system has been streamlined and there are trainings going on for special agents (from cellular companies) that are hired for this specific purpose of verifying data and dealing with NADRA.

When asked a question concerning the privacy of cellular subscribers, official told that there will be no compromise with the privacy at all; cellular companies will not store their data on NADRA’s system, instead they will consult NADRA’s data for verification only “We got nothing to do with cellular subscriber’s data”, he said in specific.

While a representative from a cellular industry spoke about the security concerns that cellular companies have in minds for this new system. He confirmed that new agents, that were hired specifically for this new system are trained and ready for the launch. He introduced us the system, and told that the console (application that will be used to verify the data, and it is given by NADRA) will have read/write rights for cellular companies’ agents, while NADRA officials will have read only access of the data. He further confirmed that NIC number will be used as primary key to store/retrieve data of any subscriber. “There will be some data shared between cellular companies and NADRA, and i doubt it is going to create some concerns for cellular companies”, he said.

We know that cellular companies are not feeling their best regarding this new SIM verification system, as reported by DAWN newspaper couple of days ahead. This is mainly for the reason, that cellular companies fear the slowdown of process due to NADRA’s involvement in the sale’s cycle; furthermore, they are also concerned with data sharing issues of subscribers plus the fee cellular companies will pay for each new connection is for sure a headache for them.

It merits mentioning here that NADRA had offered Rs. 20 per SIM verification; but apparently cellular companies want this price below Rs. 15. It merits mentioning that NADRA started its bid from Rs. 35 per verification. Surprisingly, none of the telecom operator has agreed or singed any contract with NADRA for new system.

Interestingly these clashes came forth very late, and we are on the verge of new system launch, which depicts sluggishness and infective planning by the organizers of the system.

It maybe recalled that we had similar situation of clash between NADRA and cellular companies in past too.

Update (January 30, 2009 – 11:50 AM): We have learned that NADRA and Cellular companies are expected to sign an agreement today (after Jumma Prayer), in which they will decide at Rs. 14 per SIM verification. It merits mentioning here that cellular companies were demanding Rs. 13 value while NADRA was asking Rs. 15 per verification. Stay tuned to get updates on this

Update (January 30, 2009 – 7:00 PM): Agreement between cellular companies and NADRA has been signed, under what cellular companies will pay Rs. 14 per sim verification to NADRA.

Tech reporter with over 10 years of experience, founder of ProPakistani.PK