By CLARISSA MOI
THE National Information Communications and Technology Authority (Nicta) has extended the deadline for the deactivation of unregistered subscriber identification module (SIM) cards to July 31.
Chief executive officer Charles Punaha told The National yesterday that due to the coronavirus pandemic and the Government’s directives for a 14-day lockdown period, the authority had extended the deadline to ensure all the subscribers were connected to the networks.
He said mobile network operators were also sending out SMS (short message service) blasts creating awareness on the Covid-19 pandemic.
Punaha said they had a meeting last week where the mobile network operators were informed.
He also noted that other ministerial committees taking part in the Covid-19 emergency team were also informed.
Kumul Telikom Holdings Ltd deputy chairman Rueben Kautu on whether Telikom and bmobile were prepared for the deactivation of unregistered SIM cards process, said they had been complying with Nicta’s regulations.
“We are 100 per cent compliant as we have disconnected all unregistered subscribers,” he said.
“Our new Sims are blocked when sold and unblocked only after the Sim registration is validated as per Nicta regulations.”
Digicel was contacted earlier for updates on the Sim card deactivation process but advised that they would not comment at this time as they were concentrating on their coronavirus pandemic preparedness plans.
Information, Communication and Technology Minister Timothy Masiu advised earlier that Nicta would deactivate all unregistered Sim cards by March 31, which is today.
This followed the Supreme Court’s dismissal of a reference filed by the Ombudsman Commission challenging the constitutional validity of the Sim card registration regulation.
Masiu noted earlier that as a result of the Supreme Court reference and pending the court’s decision, the deactivation of unregistered Sim cards was put on hold for most of last year.
He said there was no legal restriction for Nicta to enforce the Sim card registration regulation 2016, hence, the immediate deactivation of unregistered Sim cards to proceed as initially planned.
By CLARISSA MOI