Celcos Violate Rules by Selling Geographic SIMs

The cellular companies have failed to keep an eye on their respective franchises as they have been found selling geographic numbers, along other irregular activities, which is creating security risk for the subscriber, The Nation reported today.

According to the Number Allocation and Administration Regulations, 2005, of PTA the ‘“geographic number” means a number from the national numbering plan where part of its digit structure contains geographic significance used for routing calls to the physical location of the network termination point of the subscriber to whom the number has been assigned.’

In simple words, if a number (of a particular cellular company) is allocated for Islamabad, then it is not legal to sell it in Karachi.

Hence, franchises of the cellular companies are not allowed to sell the geographic numbers surpassing given number plans, yet this practice is in full swing by the franchises of almost all the cellular operators in the country.

The franchises are also found making SIMs pre-active and selling it in far- fetched areas, like Sibbi, of the country which has increased the security concerns, while the subscriber is the one who suffers, sources reasoned.

The Interconnection Department of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) is somehow also responsible for this practice of franchises as it is the authority to have check and balance on the violation of the rules, sources informed.

The PTA does not allow the cellular companies to sell geographic number due to the numbering plan assigned to them for different localities in the country, and then it is the responsibility of those companies to make their franchises not to be involved in this prohibited practice, sources maintained.

The other issues like tariff, crime, abhorrent calls or messages, etc are also the reasons for making this selling prohibited, and it is also applied on Wireless Local Loop (WLL).

Though the retailers are the ones who mainly do that, the franchises are to be made responsible by PTA for selling geographic SIMs to its retailers, while the cellular companies are the ultimate responsible for not devising any code of conduct for their franchises, sources informed.

PTA has taken actions against the franchises involved in this practice and has seized the franchises of almost all the telecom companies all over the country. The minimum penalty is the closure of the franchise for one month and the maximum is the permanent closure, and it has been done by PTA for many times.

It is pertinent to mention that total 50 retailers are allowed for one franchise and if any franchise found involved in such kind of practice the PTA first sends a letter to the cellular company of that respective franchise and then take action against them.

The cellular companies themselves do fine the franchises found involved in this practice, and the amount of fine ranges from 0.2 to 0.4 million.