The Philippines’ National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) is calling on Congress to pass a new law that would require all pre-paid mobile users to register their personal details with mobile network operators. The NTC hopes such measures would reduce the incidents of street crime that have blighted mobile users in recent years. ‘We are supporting Congress’ initiatives to require the registration of SIM cards because [the NTC believes] this is one very important way of reducing the crime rate,’ NTC Deputy Commissioner Jorge Sarmiento told local press. The watchdog’s move has been opposed by the mobile firms, however, which fear that the process will reduce their handset sales. It is also being criticised by civil rights activists who fear the confidential information could be used by the government in a way that would erode the citizens’ right to privacy.
In a separate story, Filipino mobile operator Smart Communications has launched an HSDPA network using equipment supplied by Nokia. Smart has deployed over 1,000 W-CDMA 3G base stations, which are being HSDPA-enabled through a software upgrade.