In December, the deadline for the mandatory SIM card registration exercise was extended to January 23, 2018.
But on the eve of this deadline, a new development.
Minister for Communications, Information Technology and Energy, Sam Basil, this afternoon announced a further extension to the SIM registration exercise.
The major reason, the high percentage of subscribers from all three mobile telecommunication companies who have not yet registered.
As of this week, all three telcos provided their updated figures on registered users to NICTA recently.
From these updates
· Telikom PNG had registered 74% of its 200,000 subscribers,
· BeMobile Vodaphone 62% of its 100,000 subscribers,
· Whilst Digicel PNG Ltd managing to register only 42% of its total 2.5 million subscribers throughout the country.
The deregistration process is expected to commence at the end of March, which will see unregistered SIM cards deactivated.
Both Minister Basil and Mr Punaha have reiterated that failure to have subscribers registered will see the telcos slapped with hefty penalties. These include;
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.
Whilst the onus so far has been on the telcos to register their subscribers, NICTA has also revealed another option – that is to partner with the PNG Council of Churches to register subscribers, especially those in rural areas who do not have the necessary identification required by the major telcos.