Telcos asked to assist 45 remote areas for SIM registration
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) wants telecommunication companies to roll out the assisted SIM (subscriber identity module) card registration initiative in remote areas on Jan. 25.
In a statement on Friday, the regulator said it had suggested to the telcos to proceed with the program next week after identifying 45 remote areas across 15 regions.
“Remote areas for Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao will still be coordinated with the Bangsamoro Telecommunications Commission,” NTC Officer-in-Charge Commissioner Ella Blanca Lopez said.
NTC instructed Globe Telecom Inc., Smart Communications Inc. and DITO Telecommunity to check the operational feasibility of the plan that seeks to ramp up the mandatory enlistment process.
Lopez previously said the regulator has a taskforce coordinating with regional offices to identify geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDA). GIDAs represent about 27 percent of barangays across the country.
These are locations where there is lack of internet connectivity, which presents a challenge for online SIM card registration.
NTC Deputy Commissioner Jon Paulo Salvahan explained this initiative was in line with the SIM card registration law, which requires the government to extend assistance to areas with limited telecommunication and internet services.
Recently, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) asked the Department of Justice to place booths in remote areas where the public could obtain National Bureau of Investigation clearances, which could be used as a valid ID requirement for the registration.
DICT Undersecretary Anna Mae Lamentillo said this could “solve the problem of lack of valid government-issued ID.”
As of Jan. 18, about 22.3 million SIM cards have already been registered, representing 13.2 percent of the 168 million mobile subscribers.
Bulk of these were from Smart with 11.12 million SIM cards; Globe, 9.34 million; and DITO, 1.84 million.
“It is vital that we maintain, or better yet increase, the current pace of daily SIM registration to meet the deadline of Apr. 26 for all SIMs to be duly registered,” Lopez said.
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