Mobile phone companies have started selling new SIMs at retail outlets, contrary to what PTA had earlier directed, we have confirmed with official and unofficial sources in the market.
The decision has been taken unanimously, by all cellular companies, to sell SIMs at retail outlets that are directly contracted by cellular operators.
These retail outlets include Telenor’s Sahulat Ghar, Ufone’s Ushops, Mobilink’s Model Shops, Zong’s TimePay outlets etc..
Cellular companies are of the opinion that these directly contract retail outlets come under direct agreement with operators and hence can be allowed to sell SIMs.
Using this cover, we are told, at least one cellular operator has allowed all kind of retail outlets — even those that are not directly contracted by operators — to sell its new SIMs.
This practice, is apparently, against the directive that was issued by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority on December 7th, 2012.
This new decision — for selling SIMs at contracted retail outlets — is taken without any recent deliberation or consent of regulator, we have confirmed with cellular companies. Officials, who wanted to remain unnamed, told ProPakistani that decision is taken under the same old provision, which had allowed telecom companies to sell SIMs at company owned outlets.
PTA directions, on other hands, had clearly mentioned:
New SIM sale shall be made only through company’s owned Customer Service Centers (CSC) and franchise outlets, as per PTA’s standard operating procedures (SOPs).
At least 3 franchisees confirmed ProPakistani that their respective operators have allowed selected retail outlets to sell SIMs. They said that retailers had SIMs already stocked with them and now they are given the nod to start selling the SIMs — after getting the data verified by NADRA.
It is still unclear that how many such retail outlets are allowed to sell SIMs.
It maybe recalled that cellular companies had to halt new sales, SIM replacements from retail outlets due to PTA’s directive issued on December 7th, 2012 (produced below). New acquisitions were badly impacted as sales had dramatically dropped due to this ban of selling SIMs on retail outlets.
While we know that Pakistan Telecommunication Authority is currently unfunctional, it is feared that this move by cellular companies may cause serious damage to all stakeholders in future.
Following is the copy of PTA directive regarding sale of New SIMs: