The Ministry for Communications has extended the date for registration, again. Read the full statement below.
Minister for Communications, Information Technology and Energy, Sam Basil, has issued a stern warning to mobile telecommunications service providers to have their remaining 1.5 million subscribers to urgently register their SIM Cards while allowing a further three months extension.
“There will be no more extensions after 30th April 2018. This is the final extension before SIM Cards are deactivated!” a disappointed and frustrated Minister Basil said.
“All mobile telecommunications service providers must work closely with the ICT Regulator, National Information and Communications Technology Authority (NICTA), to set their own scheduled deadlines for their subscribers by districts, provinces and regions within the next three months to fully register their subscribers’ SIM Cards,” the Minister said.
Mr Basil, who is Member for Bulolo, stated this while granting this extension on SIM CARD registration to Telikom PNG Ltd, Bmobile Vodafone Ltd and Digicel PNG Ltd from Tuesday, 23rd January to 30th April 2018.
“Service providers must provide notices, partially deactivate mobile telecommunications services and ensure their representatives or agents are appropriately positioned and available on location to serve subscribers,” said Minister Basil.
NICTA will consult with service providers during the notice period to agree on the processes including the sale of new SIM Cards. SIM Cards will only be sold at designated areas where registration can also be done. New SIM Cards will only be activated after registration.
Mr Basil said: “The need for all SIM Cards to be registered is a LEGAL requirement. This is a MUST for everybody, because cybercrime including terrorist-related incidents – using mobile phones to arrange and trigger – can be detrimental, highly destructive and even fatal for anybody.”
Telecommunications service providers are liable to fines of K50, 000 per SIM Card for non deactivation of unregistered SIM Cards after the 30th April 2018 deadline. This financial risk implies that they will not hesitate to deactivate any unregistered SIM cards after 30th April 2018.
Mobile telecommunications service providers were initially given 18 months’ notice period from 16th July 2016 to 23rd January 2018 to register their subscribers’ SIM Cards.
NICTA, in a meeting with mobile network service providers on Thursday, 18th January received status reports that showed while SIM card registrations had risen exponentially in December 2017, there were still over 1.5 million subscribers – mostly in rural, remote areas yet to be registered.
“Telikom PNG Ltd has registered 74% of its subscribers, with Bmobile Vodafone registering 62% and Digicel PNG Ltd managing only 42% to date,” noted Mr Basil.
“Statistically, this means that 1.5 million subscribers to the various mobile telecommunication companies, especially Digicel PNG Ltd are yet to register their SIM cards,” he added.
Mr Basil commended subscribers in the Milne Bay, West New Britain and East New Britain provinces for having recorded the highest percentage of SIM Card Registrations to date.
“Well done to you all in those provinces. You have set the bench mark for all other provinces to follow in the next three (3) months leading up to April 30th, 2018,” the Minister said.
He said that the O’Neill-Abel Government appreciates and recognizes the need for subscribers to communicate and the importance of telecommunications services for service providers and users.
“But many consumers of telecommunications services are currently abusing these vital means of communications. Under Section 266 of the National ICT Act 2009, this abuse is a criminal offence. SIM Card Registration exercise is about ensuring the safety, security and well-being of all mobile subscribers and as such all SIM Cards must be registered and traceable,” said Minister Basil.
“We live in an era in which cybercrime and security issues pose dangers to lives and property. The international spotlight will be on PNG, as the current chair and host of APEC 2018. And the focus on cybersecurity – which is about responsible and accountable telecommunications – must be taken very seriously,” he said.
According to the SIM Card Regulations 2016, failure to register SIM cards will result in:
1. Deactivation of SIM Cards by their Mobile Service Providers and the recycling of those SIM Card numbers.
2. A penalty fee of K50, 000 per SIM shall apply for each SIM that is not deactivated by Mobile Service Providers.
3. Price of New SIM Card may include penalties and additional cost for registration.
“I will be working closely with NICTA and the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission (ICCC) in monitoring these services to ensure that mobile telecommunications service providers do not excessively or unnecessarily penalize customers,” said Basil.
Minister Basil said that nationwide SIM Card Registrations are FREE and no mobile operator, agents or individuals should impose a charge to anyone during this period leading up to 30th April 2018.
Meanwhile NICTA has received a proposal from the PNG Council of Churches to assist in networking and linking mobile users especially in the rural areas, to register their SIM cards. According to NICTA, this proposal is being seriously considered given the extensive network of churches in rural, remote areas of the country.
Source: Media Press Statement