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Telcos to start selling SIMs in deactivated mode on December 27

Starting December 27, telcos will start selling SIMs in deactivated mode which users will have to register and have activated following the release of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the SIM Card Registration Act.

According to Ayala-led Globe Telecom Inc., all new SIMs must be registered immediately to enjoy services, while existing SIMs should be registered within 180 days or six months from the effectivity of the law on October 28, unless extended.

“We will continue our close collaboration with the government to ensure full implementation of the SIM Registration Act to achieve our shared goal of stopping cybercrime, including SIM-aided fraud,” Globe President and Chief Executive Officer Ernest Cu said in an emailed statement.

“Our goal is to have a SIM registration process that is seamless, secure, inclusive, and convenient for our customers,” he added, with the network having some 87.9 million subscribers.

For their part, both Pangilinan-led PLDT Inc. and its mobile subsidiary Smart Communications Inc., and DITO Telecommunity Corp. both welcomed the IRR.

“We are ready to roll out our SIM Registration processes after months of preparations, which have included, among others, studying best global practices and technology solutions from other countries that have already implemented SIM registration,” Smart Senior Vice President Francis Flores said in a separate statement.

“We will do our level best to make the registration process as simple and painless as possible for new DITO subscribers and our 14 million existing customers,” DITO Chief Administrative Officer Adel Tamano said.

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) earlier on Monday released the IRR of the Sim Card Registration Act, which was signed into law by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. in October.

The law mandates all public telecommunications entities (PTEs) or direct sellers of SIM cards to require users to present a valid identification document with a photo upon purchase.

PTEs are also required to establish their own registration platform, and submit a verified list of their authorized dealers and agents across the country to the NTC, along with an updated list every quarter.

Under the IRR, end users are also required to immediately report any change in the information supplied in their applications for registration and any instances of stolen SIMs.

In case of the death of the end user, the immediate family or relatives of the end user are required to report this to the respective PTEs, where they will file for any activation or deactivation moving forward.

PTEs are also required to deactivate SIM cards used for fraudulent text or calls upon due investigation.

Former President Rodrigo Duterte in April vetoed a version of the bill as he believed then that the proposed measure needed further study, according to then-Presidential Spokesperson Martin Andanar.

Major telecommunications firms in February welcomed the measure and expressed readiness to implement the law once it was enacted.

Personalized scam text messages have become prevalent in the country, with the National Privacy Commission (NPC) having difficulty determining the source of the information.

Telco firms in June said they had blocked millions of “smishing” messages, referring to the practice of sending text messages purporting to be from legitimate organizations to obtain users’ personal information. — DVM, GMA Integrated News