Only Mobile cellular Companies can sell SIMs from December 1, 2012 – Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA)
Mobile cellular operators will block all stocks of SIMs available at their franchises, retailer shops and points of sale by Nov 30, 2012
Karachi (Wednesday, November 14, 2012) – In order to curb the undocumented sale of SIMs, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on Wednesday asked all cellular operators to block all stocks of SIMs available at their franchises, retailer shops and point of sales by November 30.2012.
Millions of medium-sized and small businessmen in the telecom sector will bear the brunt of this decision as the government has issued a series of strict orders to cellular operators to introduce a new system, directing them to stop SIMs sales at all franchises, retail shops and customer care centres.
According to an estimate, there are a total number of 1,850 franchises and 196,000 retailers of all five telecom operators.
Each franchise has at least seven to eight people, hence roughly 12,950 people will get affected with the decision and 392,000 people will be hurt if two people at retail shops work across the country.
Besides there could be thousands of people who would lose their jobs if the new order of the government was implemented as major income is driven through SIMs sales by franchise and retailers, and many people are associated with sales channels and distribution network of cellular phone companies.
According to an estimate, if SIMs were not allowed to be sold through franchises and retailers they would get a straight hit of 50 percent on their monthly profits which would increase up to 70 percent and more with time due to decrease in retainers.
Alternatively, the telecom watchdog asked operators to introduce a postal and courier system that would despatch the SIMs to their home addresses with verification of CNIC and utility bill or driving licence.
The verification of subscribers’ data with NADRA CNIC and utility bill or driving licence alike would be difficult to operate in the current set up mainly where housing numbers and utility bills were not maintained on owner’s name.
A large number of people do not have permanent or valid addresses on their CNIC whereas a large number of people do not make their driving licences.
In villages or rural areas, people don’t have utility connections, they can’t own a SIM on their name.
The new system of despatching SIMs on postal addresses of aspirant subscribers seems extremely difficult and impractical in rural areas of the country, therefore, the cellular phone companies’ cannot increase their sales of SIMs while thousands of points of sales would likely see closure with the new system