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The Philippines SIM Registration Looking to Hit 180 million in 180 Days

National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) Deputy Commissioner Jon Paulo Salvahan is confident that the Philippines will achieve 160-180 million SIM registration within the time frame. According to data from the first two days of mandatory SIM card registration, over 3 million from over 180 million subscribers or about 1,6% of total users, successfully registered across all three telecommunications companies.

DITO had more than 530,424 registered subscribers, Smart had 1,019,207, and Globe had 1,913,266. From the start of the rollout, the telcos must submit a daily report to the NTC for seven days. After that, subscribers have 180 days from the date of purchase to register their SIM cards. However, Salvahan urged subscribers not to wait until the deadline, which will end in mid-2023.

“Based on preliminary data, there are already 3.1 or 3.2 million subscribers as of the second day. Based on the registration rate, 180 days are sufficient and will improve in the coming days. If the deadline is not met, the law allows for an extension of 120 days,” he elaborated.

The agency is closely monitoring the SIM card registration started on December 27, through a task force that will coordinate and report on telco and subscriber concerns, among other things. Due to the high volume of registration traffic, several glitches were observed on the first registration day, including a “slowdown” or “shutdown” of the system, as reported by telecom firms. To address this, telecom companies increased the capacity of their plans, allowing more subscribers to register.

Furthermore, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) reported on Thursday that it had received nearly 500 complaints about SIM card registration. DICT spokesperson and Undersecretary Anna Mae Lamentillo said in a Laging Handa public briefing that the 24/7 SIM registration complaint centre, which is handled by the agency’s Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Centre, has received 481 complaints so far.

Smart received 195 complaints, Globe received 121, Talk and Text received 83, DITO received 41, TM received 20, Sun Cellular received 14, and Gomo received seven. “Some of them, particularly senior citizens, had difficulty registering. Someone has been assigned to assist them. Others had trouble gaining access to the system.”

The first 15 days of SIM registration are regarded as a test period, during which some glitches or technical issues are expected as public telecommunications entities (PTEs) fine-tune their respective processes. During this 15-day test period, the PTEs can assess what they need to improve to make the registration process more efficient and user-friendly. However, Lamentillo anticipates that after the 15-day test period, users will have a more pleasant experience.

The 24/7 complaint centre is a SIM registration support system that will provide a platform for subscribers to report their concerns or suggest how the process can be improved. The SIM Registration Complaint Centre will be housed within the DICT’s Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Centre (CICC). Concerns about SIM registration can be directed to them via hotline 1326.

The Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Registration Act requires all end-users to register their SIMs with their respective telecommunications networks before activation to regulate SIM registration and use. It will help the Philippine National Police and other law enforcement agencies combat the rise of electronic communication-assisted criminal activities in the Philippines, such as mobile phishing, spam text messages, online scams, bank frauds, and identity theft.

The law will mandate accountability from all parties, including mobile users, telcos, the government, and the authorities. The act also supports the PNP in locating offenders of crimes committed anonymously via electronic devices.

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