There are as many as 12. Million mobile connections that do not exist anymore (are blocked) since the launch of the new “SIM Information System 668” two weeks ago, reported Daily Time quoting high official from Pakistan Telecommunication Authority.
Subsequently, the data of around 0.813 million subscribers has been rectified by the relevant mobile phone companies as the customers became aware of new process, paper said while nearly 5 million subscribers have sought verification from the authority so far.
PTA officials said that number of blocking of SIM could increase further as the millions of remaining customers will check their SIMs information against their Computerized National Identity Cards (CNIC).
All these facts may lead us to a lot lower number of cellular users in Pakistan in coming months. It merits mentioning here that PTA has not shared latest cellular subscribers’ stats for last three months now.
Another question of cellular companies’ incompliance with rules and regulations arises – under what circumstances they registered so many SIMs to fake CNICs in first place, and who is going to charge cellular companies to such an offense, apparently not PTA, as PTA itself is guilty of not eyeing the cellular companies and was apparently entertaining them by giving a free hand to whatever celcos wanted to do.
It maybe recalled that franchisers used to duplicate CNIC’s copies to fill the formality of sold or even un-sold SIMs, to meet their targets. There are conspiracies that cellular companies used to advise their resellers, distributors to sell as many SIMs as they can and actually encouraging them to fill fake information. It is considered that cellular companies did so to boost their customers’ numbers and ultimately the stock value.
This artificial growth in number of cellular subscribers is key reason for falling ARPU of cellular companies in Pakistan, which is otherwise almost double of what it is reflected in balance sheets right now.
It is yet to identify if cellular companies should be charged under cyber crime law, may be identity theft, or Telecom Act of Pakistan.