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Biometric verification drive: number of active SIMs comes down from 140 million to 120 million

The biometric verification drive has brought down the number of active subscriber identification modules (SIMs) from 140 million to 120m, whereas 22m SIMs were blocked, said chairman Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Syed Ismail Shah. The Interior Ministry, Nadra and PTA would jointly audit the data of SIMs verified/blocked, submitted by telecom operators to the Authority, he added.

By the end of given deadline of April 12, 2015, about 108m SIMs were verified, including 70m active, 21m dormant and 17m already verified through BVS, the PTA chief said, adding that about 0.2m blocked or unverified SIMs were open or verifying on daily basis. This, he stated, while addressing the 3rd National Workshop on Telecommunication Reporting held here under the aegis of PTA for the capacity building of media persons.

He further said that till April 12, 2015, about 35,000 Afghanis were issued SIMs on their cards. The government is set to devise new plan of verifying all Afghani refugees' SIMs through biometric system on their identity cards issued from UNHCR to make it more coordinated to the National Action Plan. According to the available data of UNHCR about 1.2 Afghan refugees have been issued cards which are also now shared with Nadra and their verification process would begin soon.

PTA chairman further said that "Vision 2025" has been drafted, including projection of Pakistan telecom sector, especially the growth of mobile sector by 2025. The index of telecommunication development has moved from fixed line & mobile voice penetration to broadband and connected data and more importantly communities. Connected devices will rise exponentially and impact the society and economies much more. Availability of 2.1 billion connected devices in 2025 in Pakistan with an average person connected to 9.5 devices presents an 11 times bigger market opportunity than the mobile voice market, maintained in the Vision. Revenues from connected devices will surpass both the Voice and Data by 2020 and their combined revenues by 2025. Key service providers in Pakistan will be encouraged to offer extended OTT services and have to work with them and vice versa to offer consumers value through product-centric services in a collaborative framework, he added. DG IP&WA Nisar Ahmad said that currently there is no solution to block YouTube on mobiles phones. He said that the social website was blocked on the directives of Supreme Court and could be unblocked on the order of the apex court. He further said that the Authority is ready to undertake whatever task is entrusted by the government according to the proposed Cyber law.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015