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Gov’t not targeting 100% SIM registration, says NTC exec

The government is not aiming for a 100% registration of subscribers identity module (SIM) users, an official of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) said Friday.

As of April 19, 2023, a total of 75,564,837 subscribers have registered their SIMs. This is equivalent to 44.97% of the 168 million subscriber base nationwide.

With less than half of all SIM users having registered before the registration period expires on April 26, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said it will not extend the deadline “at this point.”

“We’re not looking at 100% SIM registration, most likely some of the SIMs won’t be registered for one reason or another,” NTC Deputy Commissioner Jon Paolo Salvahan said during PTV’s public briefing.

Citing experiences from other countries which implemented SIM registration, Salvahan said the average percentage of registered subscribers is 70%.

He said the Philippines can make the said average as the benchmark, but “as of now, we still don’t have a final number.”

Telcos Smart and Globe have reiterated their call for the DICT to extend the SIM registration deadline, to give more time for their subscribers to secure valid IDs required to have a successful registration. 

Failure to register will result in the deactivation of SIMs.

The deactivation of SIM will prevent a subscriber from receiving and sending calls and text messages and accessing mobile applications and digital wallets.

Salvahan, however, said the SIM Registration law and its implementing rules “provide a way to have the SIMs reactivated within five days from automatic deactivation.”

Under the SIM Card Registration Act, signed into law in October 2022, those who have SIMs have 180 days from the effectivity of the law to register their numbers, or until April 26, 2023.

The law also provides that the DICT can extend the deadline for another 120 days as it deems necessary. — RSJ, GMA Integrated News