26 Million SIMs Blocked as SIM Reverification Drive Ends

Mobile phone companies yesterday completed a three month long biometric re-verification campaign through which 103 million prepaid SIMs were supposed to be re-verified by their legitimate owners.

Each mobile phone user was asked to go to service centre, franchise or retail outlet of his/her respective mobile operator and re-verify his identity by matching his/her thumb impression with NADRA’s database, thus ensuring that the owner of the registered SIM is indeed the legitimate CNIC holder against which the SIM is registered.

Total SIMs Selected for Re-verification

Following is the breakdown for SIMs that were to be re-verified:

  • 1 and 2 SIMs per CNIC per mobile operator: 64 million SIMs
  • 3 and more SIMs per CNIC per mobile operator: 30 million SIMs
  • Total SIMs for reverification: 103 million

Re-verification Stats

  • Verified SIMs: 71.1 Million (against 60 million CNICs)
  • Disowned (Blocked) SIMs: 16.7 Million
  • Unverified (to be blocked): 9.2 Million
  • Total Blocked SIMs: Disowned + Unverified: 26 Million

While final stats for re-verification of SIMs are likely to be available late Monday, reports from late Saturday suggest that a total of 77.1 million SIMs were re-verified during last 90 days.

Some 16.7 million SIMs were blocked by operators as customers disowned these SIMs during the re-verification process.

With this, telcos processed a total of 93.8 million SIMs (out of 103 million target SIMs) and some 9.2 million SIMs remained un-verified that are either blocked already or are in process of getting blocked by the operators.

Mobile phone companies are asked by the regulator to submit a compliance report on Monday after blocked all unverified numbers.

This way, as a result of biometric re-verification, a total of 26 million SIMs (out of 103 million) are blocked.


What Happens to Blocked Numbers?

If you own a SIM that was not verified through biometric verification system and is blocked now, then you have to go to service centre or franchise of respective operator to get your SIM replaced after biometric verification.

You will have to pay the usual SIM replacement fee (Rs. 50 to Rs. 75) to get your SIM replaced and activated again.

You can avail this facility of SIM replacement for next 180 days, after which your number will be blocked forever and will be added to re-sale pool.

Verification for Overseas Pakistan

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has given six months extension to those customers who are using Pakistani SIMs abroad and have verified their SIMs temporarily as per SOPs for SIMs that are on roaming.

Such SIMs, that are on international roaming, will remain active for another six months during which they are required to re-verify their SIMs with biometric verification system to avoid blockades.

Cost of Re-verification Drive

Starting January 12th, 2015, the biometric re-verification drive continued for 90 days during which more than 80,000 biometric re-verification devices (each of which costs from 350$ to 400$) were installed by cellular companies.

Not to be mentioned, this was the largest deployment of biometric devices in the world for a single project.

Mobile phone companies claim to have spent more than 60 million dollars on entire drive that ended yesterday.

Telcos say that this cost of US 60 million excludes the business loss that telcos incurred during the SIM-reverification activity and that such business loss may span over years to come.

How Successful was Re-verification Drive?

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority is calling the re-verification drive a success.

ProPakistani agrees to the claim to an extent, considering that over 60 million individuals went out of their comfort zones to get into queues for reverification of their SIMs. 26 million SIMs are blocked, and this number is almost half of earlier estimates, so yes the campaign went successful.

However, impact of re-verification of SIMs on terrorism — the sole purpose of whole exercise — is doubted. As researches have already established, the registration process of cellular SIMs — no matter how rigorous and how intensive it may get — has no connection with terrorist activities.

Terrorists are going to communicate anonymously even after the re-verification of SIMs, either through internet or through other means available. And hence the core purpose of re-verification of SIMs is going to remain unachieved.

Having said this, there are countless benefits that Pakistanis will reap after re-verification drive. End of unknown calls, end of Benazir income support prizes or any other lottery scams for that matter, ultimate end to illegal voice exchanges as no one will dare to do even the minor of misdeeds with his/her registered SIM.

Most importantly, after re-verification exercise, we have an accurate figure of mobile phone users in the country.

With accuracy in data, we are now going to have better ARPUs of telcos, and lower teledensity levels that should translate into better positioning of Pakistani telecom market and hence greater chances of investments in years to come.

Tech and telecom reporter for over 15 years

    • Thanks God unverified Sims tu block hoi, aik tamasha macha hoa tha Pakistan main ,jis ka dil chata jis ko ulti seedhi calls karta rehta. Ab sab k hosh theekaney aa jai gey Inshallah.

    • Well, you will never be able to catch na-maloom afrad. Now so called na-maloom afrad are going to kidnap random mobile user, make calls from his mobile and release that person…
      That person is going to have fun in jail …hahahahahaa

  • Amir bhai ye sim to nai chaly gi chahe ap 10 dafa verify krwa lo..
    kiu k ap sim ulti daal rahy ho.. ;)

  • How would u say “end of Benazir income support prizes or any other
    lottery scams for that matter”, I am receiving messages from yesterday
    from Warid (no number is shown of the sender, i am just seeing Warid and
    when I go to message and use message details, I have 1000000 shown
    only), so where is this coming from, dear Aamir Attaa could u plz

  • Mobile phone companies claim to have spent more than 60 million dollars on entire drive….
    Chal Jhoota :D

    • many unverified sims still working. I guess it takes time to block all of them. lets see.

  • 350$ to 400$ per device ??? Biggest lie in the history of telecom … I have those devices they are not more than 60$ worth if you buy in bulk from China … Total $5m expense in device and $5m of delivery and other cost … total $10m expense in this campaign hardly !!! which they can earn easily by any unethical mean …

  • my sim is on international roaming and it was blocked 1 day earlier on 12-Apr. and my verification details are not going to their system.

  • The title of the article is misleading in that total number of active SIMs stood at 139 million during second half of 2014 and I am not sure how the number decreased from 139 to 103 million.

    Be as it may, it goes on to show that almost 50% SIM sales were bogus and meant to inflate operator’s subscriber base. My personal estimate, which I had commented on this forum over past few months called for 80-85 million legitimate SIMs at the end of reverification drive, and at 77 million Valid SIMs, I think I have been pretty spot on with my estimates.

    It would be interesting to see what kind of spin PTA and the operators put on the new figures as previous claims of hyper growth, increased teledensity and others have proven to be false & misleading.

  • no sims blocked. all unverified sim still working. cnic(dot).sims(dot)pk still showing data as well

  • as a employe of Ufone I just received mail from Ufone. PTA extended 15 days of verification.

  • many unverified sims still working. I guess it takes time to block all of them. lets see.

  • Now blocking cellular services on particular days may end with this process.

    Previously they had excuses of terrorist activities of unregistered Sims, Now with this excuse gone, We may finally see an uninterpreted service through out the year.

  • Shame on PTA and all this verification drama. Still hundreds of thousands un verified SIM are working . PTA and Cellular companies always make us MAAMU and collect money with different techniques .

  • @Aamir Atta … Can you please re-confirm your point on an Exclusion for Overseas Pakistani SIMs??? I believe it needs to be corrected, kindly recheck with your source, and if possible, please provide a reference too.

    Temporary Verification SOP issued by PTA for Overseas Pakistanis did not provide any exception to Overseas SIMs (SOP is available on PTA’s website). As of today, all Unverified SIMs including Unverified Overseas SIMs stand blocked WITHOUT any exception for Overseas.

    Only “Temporary Verified” Overseas SIMs got a lease of life till 31st March 2016.

  • What about the CNICs issued by Government ? The duplicate ones, and the ones issued to Afghan Nationals or whomsoever desired to have one.

  • Dear all, There are 9.2 million Sims which they are going to block. If the server takes 1 second to block 1 SIM and will work on 24/7 basics, the process will take
    153333.33 minutes OR
    2555.55 Hours OR
    106.48 Days OR
    15.21 Weeks OR
    3.80 Months
    Let’s assume All 5 networks dedicate 1 server to do the task, then the process will take at least 3 weeks to complete. So hold on please

    • Hahahahaha Ya People Are Dumb 1 Sec Per Sim Hahahahaha Are Bhai Yeh Koi Sticker Nahin Hai Joh Utarke Chipkana Hai Its As Simple As Deleting All The Records From Text File 3 Mahine Pagal Kahin Ka

  • just checked pta and it shows telenor number on my cnic.
    now this number when i purchased was given with the bio-metric verification well before (months) this re-verify thing started and i never re-verified telenor because i wanted it to get blocked lol. but its still working fine.

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