No SIM to Be Sold Without Biometric Verification After August 1st, 2014

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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.

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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.

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


  • Muhammad Aamir

    Is Biometric Verification System unhackable? If so, then it’s good news otherwise not!

    • Yasir Ali Raza

      Not Hackable Dear

      • Muhammad Aamir

        It is hackable Proof: http:// searchsecurity dot techtarget dot com/answer/Hacking-smart-cards-and-biometric-security-systems

    • In technology world nothing is secure

      • Muhammad Aamir

        Then this technology is useless in Pakistan that has no cyber law.

    • not hackable dude.

      • Shahid Saleem

        Any Proof?

        • i have developed this solution for telecos. this is biometric verification of customer from nadra.

          • Shahid Saleem

            Um…that is not proof. Everyone who builds security software says it is not hackable.

          • kya gap lagata ho bahi :P :D

  • Myriam

    what about the people selling prepaid sims outside in markets? Especially outside Laraib at clifton karachi?

    • after 1st august those sims will not verify from 789.

      • Dost Muhammad

        They will still be. Bet on it

  • dudleedoo

    What about people visiting from abroad ? Foreign nationals ? Holders of Pakistan Origin cards?

    • Guest

      Excellent question! @aamir7:disqus, what’s its answer?

    • Abdul Mueid Shahid

      it can be activated on foreign CNIC or passport through bio metric verification

    • in current system they will not able to purchase sim but later on PTA will definitely focus on this

  • Bilal Aahil

    finally.. took them long enough

  • Ali

    Good decision to counter terrorism.

    • Muhammad Aamir

      This device is hackable, how it could be good news? Terrorism can’t be countered by inventing such a system rather it is controlled by peaceful system.

      • PeeDroid MiNi L420

        Terrorists Itney Siyaney Nahi Hain, Dangerron Ki Foje Ha Jo Jannat Ka Ticket Chatti Ha..

      • Kaboom

        Oh bhai roona band karo..iss system ka kaam terrorism stop karna nahi hai, only purpose is if any sim is being used in any wrong act tou woh kisi innocent kay naam na hoo, in short koi innocent police kay haatay na charay. Laarkion ko phone pay tang mein karon and FIA walay aap kay ghar tashreef lay aaien, iss system say aap mehfooz hoo jaien gaey.
        According to your perception terrorist wala..Terrorist plants an IED device and now using his mobile to activate that device but he receives this message…SIM Verification failed please try again or contact CC Centre for SIM verification…and terrorist “What the dash”…then he opens his laptop, hacks into NADRA system and then into telco’s system and implants fake biometric signatures or if he has time then he takes your biometrics on a plastic clear film to CC Centre dodge the system by using that film instead of your thumb …within minutes he is all set and Kabooooommmmm…
        Next morning police is on your doorstep, a sim in your name has been used in a terrorist activity.
        If you agree with what i just said then man you are in big trouble as this device is hackable

  • Fakhre Alam

    please verify the existing customers as well. also allow only two SIMs per NIC.

    • Fraz

      Good Suggestion.All SIMs already issued be verified through biometric system.It will also help to eliminate Grey traffic.

  • Ali Kazmi

    Yes I know about this service a long time . Also I this service has publish in local areas of karachi . this device is directly configure our identity by our finger.