By GYNNIE KERO
THE deadline for the registration of SIM cards has been extended for people living in rural districts and remote areas.
National Information and Communications Technology Authority (Nicta) chief executive Charles Punaha said the deadline for those living in urban centres (provincial capitals) had lapsed, and the deactivation of SIM cards would start from midnight tomorrow.
The deactivation process will be held in three phases:
- Deactivation of SIM cards in urban centres (provincial capitals) to start tomorrow;
- for district capitals, registration is extended to December 31; and,
- For rural areas, registration is extended to April next year.
“We (Nicta) have been having consultations with the operators to come up with a workable plan on how to proceed with the deactivation,” he said.
“We have also consulted with the prime minister (Peter O’Neill) and our minister (Sam Basil) on what we intend to do and they have come back with their views. Based on those consultations, the deactivations on unregistered SIMs will start at midnight on Wednesday for the main provincial centres.
“Subscribers living within 30 kilometres of a provincial centre will have their SIM cards deactivated.”
Punaha said it had been two years since the SIM registration began.
“Again I must express our disappointment that we still have a lot of SIM cards yet to be registered,” he said.
As of Friday, Digicel has registered only 54 per cent of its customers, Telikom PNG has registered 54 per cent and bmobile-Vodafone has registered 75 per cent.
“For those SIM cards which will be deactivated, subscribers will have 30 days to come forward and get registered. Operators will charge fees because the free-of-charge only applied during the notice period,” Punaha said.
“Nicat will be undertaking enforcement duties starting Sept 1 to visit dealers where SIM cards are sold and give them notices that they must cease. SIM cards will only be sold at locations where they can be registered.”
He said it was disappointing to note that in Port Moresby, only 58 per cent of SIM cards had been registered. No reason why subscribers who are located in main centres do not register SIMs.”
Meanwhile, Punaha said they were aware of a court challenge filed in Madang last week by MP Bryan Kramer challenging the deactivation of SIM cards in rural areas.