Philippine economy

PLDT, Globe oppose SIM registration
Top phone service providers stress the 'administrative nightmare' involved in requiring SIM registration among 90% of the 100 million mobile phone subscribers

SIM REGISTRATION. About 90% of the estimated 100 million mobile phone users in the Philippines are prepaid, or unregistered, subscribers. File photo by AFP

MANILA, Philippines – The top phone service providers in the country are against the proposals by lawmakers to require the registration of mobile phone SIM cards, citing the “administrative nightmare” of implementing this on over 100 million local subscriber identity modules (SIM).

In a position paper to the House of Representatives, rivals Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) and Globe Telecom Inc., as well as other members of the Philippine Chamber of Telecommunications Operators (PCTO), said they are against the SIM Card Registration Act as proposed under House Bill Nos. 525, 858, 1519, 2444, 2588, and 2624.

These bills were filed following a cellphone-triggered bombing that killed 8 people in Cagayan de Oro last July. 

PCTO president and Globe counsel Rodolfo Salalima reminded the lawmakers of the telcos’ position when similar bills were proposed in 2011.

He said: “The bills…are nothing new as most of their proposed contents have been the subject of past bills discussed during past Congress, in relation to which the undersigned organization was invited to participate.”

PCTO had said then that SIM registration is unpractical and ineffective solution against crime since there is no reliable ID system in the Philippines, Salalima stressed.

The group reiterated that only 10% of the total mobile subscribers in the Philippines are postpaid (or registered) subscribers. The rest are prepaid (or unregistered) subscribers.

PLDT’s mobile arms, Smart Communications and Digital Telecommunications, corner about 70% of the industry. Majority of the remaining subscribers are with Globe.    

Basic right

Salalima also stressed in the industry group’s current position paper the mobile subscribers’ basic right, which the measure may affect.

“The industry respectfully views the House Bills as negative factors which, despite their good intent, will stifle and in effect contravene any and every individual’s human right to telecommunicate in this internet era,” Salalima stated in the paper. He cited the United Nations declarations on the right to communicate.

The lawyer also noted that the proposed bills run counter to the government’s present and prevailing universal service policy embodied under Republic Act 7925 or the New Telecoms Policy Act.

Aside from Globe and PLDT, other members of PCTO include Bayan Telecommunications, Capitol Wireless, Digital Telecommunications Philippines, Eastern Telecommunications Philippines, Express Telecommunications Company, Philcom Corp., Philippine Association of Private Telecom Companies, Philippine Telegraph & Telephone Corp., Pilipino Telephone Corp., Telecommunications Technologies of the Philippines. –

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