Pakistani mobile phone companies spent a combined total of at least 60 million dollars on SIM re-verification.
This was revealed during interviews with officials of cellular companies on sidelines of Saturday’s press conference held by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority.
Telcos said that they deployed 80,000 biometric devices across country, each of which costs from USD 350 to USD 400. Not to be mentioned, this is largest deployment of biometric devices in the world for a single project.
Except biometric devices, telecom companies hired thousands of employees specifically for the re-verification purpose.
This cost of US 60 million excludes the business loss that telcos incurred during the SIM-reverification activity.
Michael Foley, Telenor CEO, said that his company spent tens of millions dollars on SIM reverification drive. He said that the value of loss for potential business is beyond this figure that will stretch across years to come.
Michael said that Telenor employed 3,600 individuals for the sole purpose of SIM reverification drive.
A Mobilink official confirmed ProPakistani that his company spent 15 million dollars on SIM reverification drive. The official said that there are countless number of spends that company incurred to ensure timely re-verification of SIMs, for example over 700 vans were arranged that roamed through towns and cities across Pakistan for re-verification of customers.
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Telecom operators, to ensure that no customer is left un-verified, went ahead to reach out to customers themselves. For the purpose, re-verification booths and mobile reverification solutions were setup at universities, colleges, bazaars, markets, banks, press clubs, construction sites, localities and anywhere where there were chances of gatherings.
Not to mention, these spending are other than the verification fee that customers paid, which is estimated to be around 1 million dollar in total value.
Re-verification of entire cellular customers is arguably the most successful execution of all the projects that are undertaken by the government under National Action Plan.
Mobile phone companies said that re-verification of SIMs was clearly an expensive activity, but they carried it happily as it it was essential for Pakistan’s security.