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Telcos welcome ratification of SIM registration bill

The country’s major telecommunications players on Thursday welcomed the ratification of a measure requiring the registration of mobile phone subscriber identity module (SIM) cards as they expressed preparedness to implement it once it becomes a law.

“We welcome this development from Congress. We have always maintained our stance that the SIM card registration bill will help quash the proliferation of fraudulent spam messages, smishing cases and fraud, and will boost telecom security efforts to keep subscribers safe,” Smart Communications vice president for regulatory affairs Roy Ibay said in a statement.

“It will also spur e-commerce adoption and growth,” Ibay added.

Globe Telecom also backed the measure.

“This is part of our commitment to support the government in its fight against fraud, terrorism and other crimes. It also paves the way for greater digital and financial inclusion,” the Ayala-led telco said.

On Wednesday, the Senate and the House of Representatives ratified the bicameral conference committee report on the proposed SIM Card Registration Act.

The measure mandates all public telecommunications entities (PTEs) to require the registration of SIM cards as a prerequisite to their sale and activation.

The bill also provides that all social media networks should require the real name and phone number of users upon the creation of their accounts.

All existing SIM card subscribers with active services must register within 180 days from the effectivity of the proposed law.

Ibay said there should be safeguards that will not unduly displace prepaid subscribers by giving a sufficient SIM registration period and ensuring that the wide adoption or use of the national ID is already in place.

“We are also ready to support and aid in the development of the IRR to ensure the bill's effective administration, while safeguarding privacy and information security,” Ibay said.

Globe added, "We are looking forward to threshing out critical issues surrounding its implementation, including addressing challenges on the timetable for registration of tens of millions of SIM cards currently in use."

At a virtual press conference on Thursday, DITO Telecommunity chief technology officer Rodolfo Santiago said when the third telco developed its IT plan, it had already considered the mandatory registration of SIMs.

“We will have no major challenge in terms of implementing whatever the objective of the law. Basically, we will just await it to be passed,” Santiago said. — VBL, GMA News