Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has announced that no SIM will be sold or activated throughout Pakistan without biometric verification of customers starting August 1st, 2014.
As per this new policy, customers will have to verify their identity through thumb impression to confirm that the CNIC they are using for activation of SIM is legitimate, original and it belongs to them.
As per PTA’s SOP, a customer has to present his/her CNIC to sales’ representative of cellular companies before making a purchase of SIM. After which customer will have to record the thumb impression that will be matched – in real time – with NADRA’s database.
After successful match of thumb impression with NADRA’s record, the customer will be issued a new activated SIM.
PTA said that SIM activations through 789 will discontinue and SIMs will only be registered through biometric verification.
How to Get New SIM After August 1st
For those who are still wondering, here is how you will be able to buy new SIMs after August 1st, 2014:
- Customer will have to show his/her CNIC.
- The Customer Service Representative/Franchise Representative/Retailer will check the CNIC for SIMs already issued. If 5 SIMs have already been issued on the respective CNIC, no further action can be taken.
- CNIC with more than 5 registered SIMs (of any operator) can not purchase more SIMs.
- Customer can check the registered SIMs against his/her CNIC by sending 13 digit CNIC number to 668. This will return the operator wise connection count for the submitted CNIC.
- In the case that 5 SIMs have not been issued on the respective CNIC, the details are entered into the system and customer will be asked to put thumb on the biometric machine.
- Customer’s thumb print (and/or Index Finger and Thumb of both Left and Right hand) will then be verified by the system, through NADRA.
- Once verified, new, pre-activated SIM will be handed over to the customer
It merits mentioning here that SIM replacement of old connections will also be done through biometric verification of SIMs.
What Exactly is Biometric Verification System
Biometric verification is actually the process making sure that the CNIC you are holding at the time of SIM purchase is indeed yours. This is done by matching your thumb impression with NADRA’s database against the CNIC you’d produce at the time of buying new SIM.
If you remember, at the time of getting your NADRA CNIC you were asked to record your thumb impressions. Which means there is a thumb impression stored against your CNIC, that will be now matched to make sure that the CNIC indeed belongs to you.
This way, no one will be able to purchase new SIM on CNIC that is fake or doesn’t belong to the customer.
Move – that is likely to hit sales of cellular companies – is aimed at curbing unregistered and unverified SIMs in the country, that are arguably the main cause of more than 80 percent of criminal and terrorism related activities in Pakistan.
PTA, however, didn’t disclose its plan for verifying or re-verifying already active SIMs. Not to forget, there more than 139 million cellular connections in Pakistan and it is said that millions of those subscriptions are either unregistered or they are registered with fake CNICs.