Sunday, December 02, 2012

PTA Suspends 789 SIMs Activation System

Sunday, December 02, 2012
Verification system 789 has been suspended on the directives of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and hundreds of thousands of new SIMs could not be activated on the networks on Friday, reported Daily Times today.

This is the first time in the history of the country as the SIMs activation was stopped by mobile phone operators after it started in February 2009.

A large number of customers, who bought SIMs from retail outlets and franchises in the recent days failed to get their connections activated due to change in policy by the authority and Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf’s announcement to revert new SIMs mechanism.

Customers making request on 789 found the recorded message that SIMs activation system had been suspended as per directives of PTA.

Our company has been ordered by PTA to suspend SIM Activation System 789 to stop SIMs sale at customer care centres, franchises and retail shops as per directives of Ministry of Interior, which earlier proposed a new system of SIMs sale to the residents of customers, an official of the mobile phone company said.

Despite the orders issued by the prime minister to continue SIMs sale via activation system 789 with National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) verification, the companies have not received the notification so far, thus the sale of SIMs has been stopped, he said on the condition of anonymity. We have been waiting for the notification of PTA in accordance with the directives of the prime minister.

PTA spokesperson Malahat Rab said the authority has not issued any new notification after the prime minister’s decision. She did not inform Daily Times about the new development regarding the issuance of fresh directives to cellular operators by PTA.

On November 29, a day before deadline of new SIMs sales process proposed by the Ministry of Interior, all chief executive officers of cellular phone companies met the prime minister and expressed their reservation of business viability and investment decline due to the new system.

Raja annulled the decision of the Interior Ministry and allowed operators to continue SIMs sale at franchises and customer care centres while stopping its sales at retail outlets by November 30.

Industry sources said the notification regarding the decision of the prime minister to continue sales at customer care centres and franchises has not been received by PTA, therefore, it did not pass it on to operators with new directives.

At present, customers at large have made panic buying of SIMs on the proposed change fear of loss of their money and connections particularly those who bought connection cards at retail shops.

I had purchased a SIM on November 28 from the franchise of a company and completed due verification process on the same day, but I have not received my SIM so far, said Shakirullah who purchased a new SIM for avoiding new process.

Industry sources said that companies SIMs sale have been increased significantly in the last two weeks due to significant increase in demand after Interior Minister Rehman Malik’s announcement in media to change subscription process from the starting month.

Franchise owners and retail agents had reduced the cost of SIMs to unload their stocks as much as possible to save themselves from losses. Even it has been reported that SIMs have been sold out at Rs 50-20 and even for free by a few companies.

The SIMs sale usually recorded at 30,000 to 40,000 per day increased to 50,000 to 60,000 per day though it crossed 100,000 level in a few days particularly of those companies selling SIM cards at reduced rates or free of cost.

This has disturbed the whole chain system of the companies including registration of CNIC copy at franchises or outlets, verification of customers data and its activation.

Once a customer gets registered their CNIC number at the time of SIM sales, he has to verify his identity from customer care centre through dialing 789.

Customers bought SIMs recently said that they faced problems while making request in November as companies officials got extremely engaged in processing verification at increasing requests of customers. Resultantly, they have to wait from three to five minutes, which happened due to too much requests that jammed the networks of a few operators.

I bought SIMs from a company’s roadside stall a week ago, but my SIM has not been activated though I made verification from the company on the same day, Ahmed Rayyan, a customer said.

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