Biometric Re-Verification of Entire Cellular Customer Base on the Cards

Pakistan_SIMTelecom regulatory authority and government of Pakistan is considering to re-verify the entire cellular customer base of 120 million with upcoming biometric solution in order to straighten up the records of cellular subscribers forever, told us sources who are directly familiar with the development.

If put in simple words, the upcoming biometric solution for verification of customers will not be used only for new subscribers only but all existing subscribers will have to verify their cellular number once to keep using the cellular services.

Meaning that, along with new subscribers, existing subscribers will have to re-verify their connection(s) before a set period of time to continue using the service. All those un-verified numbers will be suspended and subscribers will not be able to use those numbers again.

Idea, as per sources, is to eliminate all kind of bogus and unverified numbers from the databases for once. This fool proof system – if implemented – will not only take care of new sales but all existing SIMs with unverified details will be eliminated for ever.

Obviously – if implemented — this is going to be a huge task and cellular companies are naturally not favouring it. Deployment of such a solution and re-verification of entire customer base will not only require huge investment, manpower, management but telcos are likely to lose millions of millions of customers.

It maybe recalled that Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom are long working on a biometric solution for verification of cellular subscribers.

Previous government had once set Feb 28th, 2013 as the deadline for the deployment of biometric solution, the process, however, was halted due to change in government and management crisis at PTA

When deployed, the system will cross-verify the thumbnail impression of customers with the NADRA records to confirm that subscriber is indeed the CNIC card holder on which he/she is getting the SIM.

Modalities for the deployment of biometric solution is still underway and a committee is working out to figure out the best practices for the biometric solution and its implementation. Committee is likely to submit its proposals with-in two weeks after which the situation about the deployment of biometric system and procedures for re-verification will get clearer.

In a related news, Prime Minister of Pakistan has directed the PTA to get 4.5 million unregistered SIMs blocked. It is still unclear that how this figure of 4.5 million was determined and that what process was adopted to figure out if SIMs were indeed unregistered.

To know the history of unregistered SIMs in Pakistan, you may like to know our two posts here and here.

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


  • dom

    There are large number of pakistanis who are abroad and they visit here once or couple of years. They will lose their cell numbers if this is implemented as they cannot return just for sake of biometric verification.

    • aamir7

      Government is going to give sufficient enough time for re-verification, say 2 years. Bangladesh gave its subscribers around one year for the same kind of verification (it wasn’t biometric there though).

      • fakhre alam

        bangla is more populous though. 1year is enough i guess

        • Adil Muhammad

          I personally think it should be done within a 1-3 months given law and order situation of country.

          • Jk

            6 months max

          • Abdullah Khan

            Totally agreed. Pakistani Government should put it on first priorities and provide assistance to get it done in as short time as possible. They can arrange mobile vans and teams, along with the required equipment and teams shall filter out bad numbers on doors; no hassle for the customer.

    • Adil Muhammad

      Well – they should get new number on their visit. It’s not an issue.

    • Naeem sarwar

      So what, for the number we use only once in a year you want whole nation to suffer?

      You know in Saudi Arabia, for every recharge you need to pin your ID number!!!!!!

    • Abdullah Khan

      What is more important? Taking care of this pinchful of numbers which these abroad-living-Pakistanis possess, or to destroy all the SIMs which criminals and terrorists has been using from years… The existence of Pakistan is in danger and here you are worrying about a non-issue.

  • Jk

    Good job, if implemented this will bring crime rate to below 50% .

    • Naeem sarwar

      This must be implemented!

  • Ahmad Ahmad

    this is good step though its difficult but it should be applied soon

  • Adeel

    Hats off to Government keep it up.

  • Azi

    Yah system hota kia hai?

  • Amir

    I would love to see such system implemented. I am very much in favour of it.

  • Bonga

    This will hopefully limit gray traffic which has become a nuisance lately. By the way, anybody paying attention to Bngladesh 3G auction. Not good for Pakistan as a benchmark — $105 million for 5MHz, with 15MHz going unsubscribed. With Pakistan only having 30MHz to offer, it will be tough for the Govt to realize more than $500 million as opposed to $1 billion expected.

  • Shahid Saleem

    Collecting more data for the NSA?

    • aamir7

      This data won’t go to Google :D

      • Rebelle

        ……but would straight go into the pocket of Uncle Sam….. :P

      • Shahid Saleem

        I would be very surprised if the NSA isn’t tapping NADRA’s data or links somehow. After all, it’s their job.

        • Salman Abbas

          Yeah.. China & USA don’t let foreign hardware in their governmental departments to avoid this. If they do, they do proper security checks to look for backdoors etc.

          Meanwhile in Pakistan, employees of top secret departments are freely using both Chinese and American phones/hardware. I’ve seen PAEC employees freely take all kinds of phones with them at work for example. These phones are perfect spying devices because of having a camera, microphone and G.P.S.

      • Salman Abbas

        Yeah who needs Google when we have script kiddies :P

  • will be good, but again yahan telecom companies ke marzi chalti hay hakomat ke nahi.

    • umar

      no bro here all going on the welling of Govt:and.not telecom companies if so they said many times to reduce the extra tax on recharge

  • PeeDroid

    Its A Good Step.. Good For Karachi..
    Bhatta Collectors Will Be In Tension Now :P
    I Just Recived Telenor “Djuice” SMS :
    Moazaz Sarif 789 Per Call Kerka Apni Sim Register Karwain, Nahi To PTA Ki Hadayat Ka Mutabiq Apki Sim Block Karsi Jay Gi.

  • it is so not going to happen … after few weeks you will find out that dear Pakistanis have find out a way to fool the system and again same topi drama continues …

    In my opinion Gov. Should Block all the sims instantly and leave only 1 sim against 1 Nic … jab jally ki sabki tab ho ye verify krwany niklen gy …

  • nad

    nothing will happen . until and unless the govt is REALLY sincere with pakistanis and NOT with the americans .

  • aitizaz shah

    its very good to have! Those living in Pakistan have the right to live safely! at the cost of their blood we cant afford the current scenario. this new system must be implemented as soon as possible. Long live Pakistan

  • Parvez Iftikhar

    A difficult but necessary step. Must be taken urgently.