Relief for mobile phone companies

Relief for cellular phone companies

Islamabad (DailyTimes / Friday, November 30, 2012) – After much hue and cry from the cellular phone companies and the general public, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf has annulled the SIMs sale mechanism proposed by Interior Minister Rehman Malik after meeting with the chief executive officers of the five cellular operators.

Mobile Phone Relief

Under the proposed mechanism, SIMs would have been delivered to residence of the person, who owns his house, and implemented from December 1, 2012.

Sources in the industry told Daily Times that the prime minister ordered mobile phone companies to continue sales of SIMs via verification of subscribers data at franchises and customer service centres and restored Mobile Portability Number (MPN) system, which was earlier banned on November 15.

The sale of SIMs at thousands of retail stores will remain suspended until mobile phone operators equip them with biometric machines and required automated registration system.

The prime minister was firm on suspension of mobile phone services in the future, as whenever and whatever was required in the nation’s interest and security of the masses.

He directed mobile handsets local and foreign brands to ensure handsets with proper IMEI number through their importers at any cost.

Earlier, cellular phone companies CEOs in their meeting with Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) officials also said that proposed modus operandi for SIMs sale was not possible as it would cause losses to the companies and their partners – franchisers.

Sources said the delegation explained to the prime minister that new SIMs sale mechanism was not viable practically in the country due to its complicated conditions set by PTA on the directives of the Ministry of Interior.

The prime minister said the growth in the telecommunication sector would decrease that would also hurt investment in the country, they said. He was ensured their full cooperation towards security concerns and illegal SIMs sale in the country with new planned measures to be implemented at the earliest.

The meeting was also attended by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Information Technology Dr Basit Riaz, Interior Secretary Khawaja Siddique Akbar, PTA Chairman Farooq Awan and IT secretary.

Though mobile phone operators have not received any directive from the telecom regulator they have welcomed the prime minister’s decision to protect the investors and their interest in the country.

Officials of the mobile phone companies said that the prime minister has taken a positive decision to rescue jobs of hundreds and thousands of employees and investment of medium-sized investors.

According to an estimate, there is a total number of 1,850 franchises and 196,000 retailers of all five telecom operators. Roughly 12,950 people could have gotten affected with the decision and 392,000 people hurt if two people at retail shops would have worked across the country.

They said that the telecom industry had the potential to land billions of dollars investment and reiterated their expansion of business mainly introduction of 3G technology and expansion of branchless banking in the country.

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