The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has reportedly called an emergency meeting with the country’s mobile network operators with a view to blocking illegal pre-paid SIM cards. According to local news source The News, the regulator will meet with representatives from cellcos next week, with PTA chairman Farooq Awan overseeing the discussion. Alongside confirming stricter restrictions on the issue of pre-paid connections, it is understood that, following orders from Interior Minister Rehman Malik, mobile operators are also expected to be told to block mobile SIMs issued against fake Computerised National Identity Cards (CNICs) with immediate effect.
Commenting on the matter, Mr Awan was cited as saying that the PTA has so far blocked approximately four million mobile phone connections issued on bogus CNICs, while also confirming that new pre-paid SIM connections will now be delivered via courier to the address listed for an identity card on the National Database Registration Authority (NADRA).
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, last month the PTA revealed it had revised the limit of SIMs allowed per person to five. In an amendment to subscriber verification regulations, the watchdog said that no more than five SIMs could be registered to a single CNIC, with subscribers having previously been allowed to purchase up to ten SIMs per provider, allowing each individual to have up to 50 SIMs registered to a single CNIC. The PTA claimed that the move will help restrict the illegal sale of mobile phones, and their use in criminal activities, though some operators reportedly raised concerns that it will have a negative impact on their sales and inconvenience legitimate subscribers that exceed the new limit.