Finally the three months long mobile SIM’s biometric re-verification started on the 12th January, 2015 has now been concluded, bearing second deadline completion. This obligatory endeavor of registering 103 million mobile SIM’s being operated in Pakistan was triggered as part of the national action plan after brutal Army Public School Peshawar massacre. The first deadline ended on 26th February, because the Telco’s was unable to re-verify all prescribed SIM inside the deadline PTA extended the deadline till 12th April, 2015 – which has now also been ended.
Stats after the Final Deadline completion:
According to the stats reported by mobile operators and PTA suggesting that 71.1 Million in favor of 60 million CNICs are being successfully re-verified. And 16.7 Million SIM’s were blocked as the owners of these SIM’s disowned them. Lastly remaining 9.2 Million remained unverified, which are going to be blocked because the subscribers who have possession of these SIM’s haven’t come for the verification – nor disowned them.
So, in totality 26 Million persist vulnerable after this biometric verification drive conducted in the country asking mobile subscriber to verify their SIM’s via their thumb impressions synced with NADRA database. Now, these 16.7 Million disowned plus 9.2 Million unverified SIM’s are going to be blocked from today.
Future Implications of Blocked SIM’s:
PTA has recently announced that mobile SIM which will remain unverified after the final deadline will be blocked instantly after 12th April. But PTA Chairman has also stated that these SIM can be re-activated by the owner of the SIM’s by re-verifying them till one year of their blocking time period. Not to forget that Dr. Syed Ismail Shah till also announced that for one year telecom operator will not issue these unverified SIM’s to anyone providing chance to the prescribed owner of the SIM to unblock SIM after biometric verification.
Telco’s Subscriber Stats after Re-Verification:
According to latest stats, Telenor lost the most number of 8.53 million subscribers after this biometric verification drive in the country. On the other hand, Mobilink, which is the largest operator of the country gone astray 7.55 million SIMs from its network. While, CM Pak Zong lost subscribers, Ufone sacrificed 3.86 million and lastly Warid blocked its 1.65 million SIMs – upon remained none verified.
Cost of SIM Re-Verification Drive:
As per telecom operators they installed about 80,000 biometric devices all over the country at customer care centers and thousands of retail outlets. These devices cost Telco’s hefty millions of dollars as single device costs 350$ to 400$. As per operators claim they have invested 60 million USD for this SIM re-verification process in the country – excluding business loss sustained additionally.
As now finally the much chanted obligatory SIM biometric verification drive has been completed, it will certainly benefit the country national security in various aspects. Furthermore, it will also be beneficial for Telco’s too in terms of gaining accurate ARPUs (Average Revenue per User) by accommodating the genuine subscribers filtering unproductive ones. Thus all well as it ends well; it is a win win situation for all stake holders in the long-run since this required SIM verification process has been made once for all.