During first two weeks of SIM re-verification drive, telecos managed to re-verify 8.72 million SIMs through biometric verification system, a campaign that aims at reverifying each and every cellular customer in Pakistan till March 14th, 2015.
This figure was shared with National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication yesterday.
Committee was further told that more than 2 million SIMs were blocked as their owners denied to have possession of such SIMs or they were never registered in their names.
With such pace, only half of SIMs are estimated to be re-verified till the deadline of of April 14th, 2015.
Unverified SIMs, after the deadline, will be blocked and customers will have to get their blocked SIMs re-issued after paying SIM replacement fee.
Only half of SIMs are estimated to be re-verified till the deadline of of April 14th, 2015
“Three months is not realistic time for such an uphill task but such are the directions from the Ministry of Interior,” PTA Chairman Dr Ismail Shah told the standing committee. Previously the proposed time frame duration for re-verification of SIMs was one year.
Ad hoc stats show that around 25% SIMs are being cancelled by the customers because either such SIMs are not in their possession now or they had never bought/held them.
These 25% SIM cancellations coupled with those subscribers who won’t be able to make it to service centres/retailers till April 13th, 2015 for biometric re-verification and their SIMs, the total SIM cancellation rate might hit 50%.
Service centres, franchises and retail outlets of cellular companies remained filled with long-queues all day long. In fact women and senior citizens face serious problems while re-verifying their SIMs and telecom companies are helpless as their support channels were never designed to handle such huge number of customers.
Industry experts are sceptical about the whole re-verification exercise and they are uncertain about the results and productivity of the drive.