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NTC asks telcos to explain SIM listing glitches, remedial steps set

The country’s telecommunications companies were ordered to submit incident reports on anomalies regarding their SIM card registration processes by Wednesday, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) said.

In a memorandum issued Tuesday, the NTC said the order was in response to “numerous incidents involving unsuccessful or incomplete SIM registration from the general public.”

It also noted several initial social media reports from users that complained of registration sites being down or inaccessible.

This was as the country’s three mobile operators said Wednesday nearly 2.5 million subscribers – out of a combined 173 million postpaid and prepaid clients nationwide — have completed their registration since it began on Dec. 27.

In a statement, Globe, with nearly 88 million subscribers, said it logged over 1.5 million SIM registrations as of 4 p.m. Wednesday, hours after its platform went back online after “fine-tuning and optimization for better customer experience.”

DITO Telecommunity Corp., which has 15 million subscribers, recorded 497,873 SIM registrations as of Dec. 28, as its chief administrative officer Adel Tamano described its list-up as “generally smooth.”

Smart, with 68 million subscribers, said it had a total of 388,522 SIM registrations across its postpaid and prepaid, Smart Bro, and TNT brands as of yesterday.

The NTC told the telcos to file reports on these incidents, including the platform involved, the number of subscribers affected, geographical areas, and actions taken to address these issues, “as well as actions to mitigate or eliminate future incidents.”

NTC Deputy Commissioner Jon Paulo Salvahan told ABS-CBN TeleRadyo they have since received initial reports.

Salvahan also addressed concerns about the use of selfies for SIM card registration, saying it was an added verification measure.

He noted that during the public consultations on the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the SIM Card Registration Act, there were concerns about how to ensure the identity of subscribers using their SIM cards.

The telcos will also be rolling out assisted registration in their stores, especially for subscribers who are not familiar with using their online registration platforms, Salvahan added.

The NTC will also set up a task force to closely monitor updates on SIM card registrations, especially in the nation’s hinterland areas.

For her part, Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Spokesperson Anna Mae Lamentillo said the selfie requirement for registration complied with the law.

“The new law imposes a lot of penalties… a lot will try to subvert the system, submit fake IDs and fake names. But now, we warn our countrymen to be honest in what SIM cards they use and the information they give,” she told ABS-CBN TeleRadyo.

The DICT has also set up a 24/7 hotline—1326—for SIM card registration complaints and concerns.

Globe Group chief sustainability and corporate communications officer Yoly Crisanto said: “Our SIM registration platform is back up and running, and we’re happy to report that our customers are logging in to register. We shall continue to closely monitor the site’s performance using the 72-hour window from December 27 to check the stability and full optimization of the system.”

Smart regulatory affairs senior manager Kenneth Regañon said: “Our postpaid subscribers were able to receive their registration confirmation within two minutes. Some of our prepaid subscribers, meanwhile, may have experienced initial difficulties in accessing our portal and in completing the registration pro[1]cess due to the heavy volume of registration traffic throughout the day.”

Thousands of mobile phone users were unable to register their SIM cards on the first day of mandatory registration on Tuesday as technical glitches—and the sheer number of users—bogged down online portals set up by the telcos to accept their information.

The online registration will be free of charge and will require customers to provide their personal information (full name, date of birth, sex, present/official address) and a government-issued identification card. Darwin G. Amojelar

Minors are expected to register under their parent or legal guardian’s name along with any government-issued ID of the parent or guardian, and the consent of the minor’s parent or guardian to register the SIM. Multiple SIM cards can be registered under one name.

Businesses that will register a SIM card must submit additional requirements.

Subscribers of all telecom companies have until April 26, 2023 to register their SIM cards.

Under the implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act 11934 also known as An Act Requiring the Registration of SIM Cards, mobile phone subscribers with prepaid SIM cards must register and verify their phone numbers with their respective public telecommunications companies 180 days from Dec. 27, 2022.

After the extension period of 120 days, unregistered SIM cards will be deactivated.

For postpaid subscribers, data submitted to the service providers will only need to be verified.

SIM cards of foreign nationals visiting as tourists will only be valid for 30 days. It may be extended upon submission of an approved visa extension.

Before Tuesday’s start of the registration process, all the telecommunications companies said they were confident that their systems could handle the volume of users.

Lamentillo said that the first two weeks of the implementation of the SIM registration is considered a test period, during which some glitches or technical issues are expected as the public telecommunications entities (PTE) fine-tune their respective processes.

To register, subscribers should visit the portal of their telecommunications provider.

For Globe Mobile, TM and Home Prepaid WiFi users, register through https://new.globe.com.ph/simreg.

For Smart prepaid, TNT and Smart Bro users, register through https://smart.com.ph/simreg.

For existing DITO Subscribers, register through https://dito.ph/RegisterDITO.

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