DICT: No more SIM card registration extension
MANILA -With less than two weeks left, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is sticking to the July 25 cutoff for the mandatory SIM (subscriber identity module) card registration after previously extending the compliance period by 90 days.
National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) Deputy Commissioner Jon Paulo Salvahan told the Inquirer on Friday the DICT does not see the need to give more leeway for Filipinos to list their SIM cards since most active users have already done so.
“Per our discussions with DICT officials, we are no longer looking at extending the deadline beyond 11:59 p.m. of 25 July 2023, Philippine Standard Time,” he said in a Viber message.
“This is because based on our discussion with the covered public telecommunications entities (PTEs), almost all of their SIMs with active-users had already been registered as of this date,” he added.
As of July 11, NTC data showed that 61.21 percent or over 102.8 million of the 168.2 million SIM cards were already registered in the system. Bulk of these were accounted for by Smart Communications Inc. users with 48.69 million, followed by Globe Telecom Inc. with 46.91 million and DITO Telecommunity with 7.24 million.
The DICT previously said they were not expecting all the SIM cards to be registered given that others were just being used for text scams.
The SIM card registration is supposed to address this cybersecurity concern by removing the veil of anonymity that is being taken advantage of by scammers. Text scams continue to proliferate at present.
The mandatory listup began on Dec. 27, 2022. It was supposed to end by April 26 this year, as mandated by law, but the government opted to extend the deadline by 90 days more with only around half of the SIM cards registered at the time. Registrants also reported having a hard time entering the digital portals due to heavy traffic.
Extension, if needed
According to the law, the DICT is allowed to have a 120-day extension, if needed.
In a recent advisory, Globe said it had made SIM registration process easier for fully-verified users of GCash, the telco player’s e-wallet brand that also requires identification during the account opening stage.
“Under this new registration protocol, selected Globe subscribers will receive a notification inviting them to register their SIMs by texting ‘GCASH’, followed by their birthday in ‘mmddyy’ format, to 8080. For example, a user born on May 22, 1983, shall text ‘GCASH 052283,’” the Ayala-led company said.
Doing so will allow GCash subscribers to send their account details to Globe.
Smart also urged Smart Satellite (SmartSAT) prepaid SIM card owners to comply with the registration mandate. SmartSAT enables voice calls, emails, text messages and data services in areas with compromised or difficult cellular coverage.
Unregistered SIMs will be deactivated, which means they can not be used for voice calls, text messages, securing one-time PINs and even accessing e-wallets.