The Philippines’ Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) rebuffed operator requests to extend its SIM registration deadline, demanding operators ramp up efforts to register subscribers who risk being deactivated.
DICT said in a statement it had acknowledged the requests for extension from operators Globe Telecom and Smart Communications, but stayed firm on its stance that “there is no extension of SIM registration”.
The deadline for all subscribers to register is April 26, failing to do so will result in subscribers being cut off from usual services such as calls, texts and access to mobile money wallets.
DICT reaffirmed its SIM registration programme promotes the responsible use of SIMs and provides law enforcement agencies with the “necessary tools” to track down criminals who use SIMs for crimes.
“The DICT reiterates that the SIM Registration Act places primacy on the fundamental rights of Filipinos and is replete with safeguards to ensure the confidentiality of user data”, the regulator said in a statement.
In separate statements responding to DICT, Globe and Smart again urged the regulator to extend the timeline and make other forms of IDs valid. A key challenge for operators is the lack of valid identification from subscribers.
Globe stated today (April 20) it had registered only 33 million out of 86.5 million subscribers, up from 27.9 million on April 13.
Smart revealed 36.5 million registered which equates to 55.1%, this is up from only 46% in the same time period.
"Extending the deadline will give our remaining 45% subscriber base ample time to register. At present, all 160 million subscribers in the country are given only 121 days to register.
“Comparatively, in other countries like Indonesia and India, Public Telecommunication Entities were given one to two years of a registration window to better prepare for and promote SIM registration," said Cathy Yang, PLDT and Smart FVP and Group Head for Corporate Communications.