Exclusive: Pakistan is Left with 121.8 Million Active SIMs!

Unlike press and nation was told earlier, mobile phone companies re-verified their 198.4 million SIMs during the SIM re-verification drive, we are told by reliable sources.

This number is other than 17 million verified SIMs that telecom operators had bio-metrically verified from August 1st, 2014 till the start of re-verification drive on January 12th, 2015.

So mathematically, there were a total of 215.4 million SIMs at the start of biometric re-verification drive that ran for three months. Following is the breakup of 215.4 Million SIMs:

  • Active SIMs at the start of re-verification drive: 103 Million
  • SIMs that were already reverified through BVS: 17 Million
  • Dormant SIMs that were reverified by legitimate owners during reverification drive: 95.4 Million
  • Total Number of SIMs in all pools: 215.4 Million

For those who don’t know, a cellular SIM gets inactive (also known as dormant) when there is no revenue generating activity carried out from that SIM for 90 days. Such SIM is called dormant and is usually not counted as a subscription.

As we know that there were 103 Million SIMs selected for the re-verification purpose. These 103 Million SIMs were picked from the pool of active SIMs at the time of start of re-verification drive.

However, when re-verification started, dormant SIMs — even if they were decade old numbers that were in-active for ages — started appearing against CNICs of customers.

So it was a blessing in disguise for cellular operators as mobile phone users were offered to re-verify all the numbers registered against CNICs and this is how dormant SIMs started getting re-verified.

Blessing in Disguise: More than decade old inactive SIMs were also verified by mobile phone companies

It merits mentioning here that as per SOP for re-verification of SIMs, customers had to re-verify their one primary number for each operator and in return system sent a list of all registered numbers against the CNIC in an SMS. Customers were offered to re-verify all or selected numbers by just replying to this SMS.

This means that there were essentially two lists of SIMs that were getting re-verified: 1) Active SIMs and 2) dormant SIMs.

As per our well placed sources, below are re-verification stats for both the list:

  • Active SIMs: 103 Million
    • Re-verified: 70 Million
    • Disowned: 22 Million
    • Not Re-verified — to be blocked: 9 million
  • Dormant SIMs: 95.4 Million
    • Re-verified: 22 Million
    • Disowned: 65.4 Million
    • Not Re-verified — to be blocked: 8 Million
  • Combined Re-verification Stats:
    • Re-verified: 70 Million + 22 Million = 92 Million
    • Disowned: 22 Million + 65.4 Million = 87.4 Million
    • Not Re-verified: 9 Million + 8 Million = 17 Million

Below is the count of all active SIMs after re-verification:

  • Total Active SIMs:
    • Re-verified SIMs: 92 Million 
    • Re-verified SIMs before re-verification drive: 17 Million
    • Misc SIMs: 1.8 Million (Postpaid, corporate, foreigner SIMs, data SIMs etc)
    • Total Active SIMs: 110.8 Million

Introduction of Extreme White List

At the end of re-verification drive, cellular operators came up with this extreme white list, which according to them comprises of individuals who have one SIM per CNIC per Operator.

This Extreme White List has some 11 million SIMs.

Cellular companies argued that these individuals have one SIMs per CNIC per operator, meaning that they are such customers who have just a single SIM as their sole mean of cellular communication and hence they should be given more time to re-verify their SIMs.

This extreme white list was not blocked on April 13th, 2015, as we hinted yesterday.

Cellular companies were secretly making efforts to re-verify SIMs from the said “extreme white list”, but they were yesterday given a public permission from Interior Minister to conclude the re-verification of extreme white list.

So if we include these 11 million SIMs as currently active SIMs, total number of active SIMs become: 121.8 Million (111.8 million re-verified SIMs + 11 Million from extreme white list).

Since the new deadline for re-verification of extreme white list is May 15th, 2015 — the 11 million extreme white list may get shrinked by almost 50 percent and we may end-up around 115 million active users by May 15th, 2015.

More in below infographic:

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