Pakistan Telecommunication Authority is working on preparing SOPs to stop sale of free SIMs from mobile phone companies in Pakistan.
This was stated by Dr. Ismail Shah, Chairman PTA during a Senate’s standing Committee meeting on Information Technology and Telecom.
It may be recalled that mobile phone companies, during their promotions, also indulge in giving out SIMs to customers free of charge.
Chairman PTA explained during the meeting that all new sales are now carried out through biometric verification system. Despite this, new SIMs are being sold in the market without any price.
Such SIMs, that are totally free, come with free balance of Rs. 50 to Rs. 75 as well, said the Chairman.
The committee was chaired by Senator Talha Mehmood, who showed his concerns over the matter and asked why and how cellular companies continue to sell free SIMs.
Chairman PTA responded to the question by mentioning that mobile phone companies tend to sell mobile SIMs free of cost to add their subscriptions. Dr. Ismail also revealed that cellular companies absorb Rs. 200 loss on sale of each SIM card.
The Chairman also noted that customers discard SIM cards after using its free balance.
It maybe recalled that all new SIMs are sold after biometric verification system. Moreover, one CNIC holder can not have more than five SIMs on his/her name.
When discarding a SIM (after using up its free balance), customers have to remove the ownership of SIMs before acquiring a new SIM card. This is because the total number of SIMs registered against one CNIC can not exceed the allow limit of 5 SIMs per CNIC.
Mobile phone companies, to retain customers and to recover part of the costs, charge a fee when SIMs are removed from customers’ CNIC.