ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) in collaboration with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has carried out a successful raid against the illegal activation of SIMs, at a franchisee of a mobile company in Wah Cantonment.

During the raid, digital equipment including laptops, PCs, mobile phones and SIM cards (both active and inactive) were confiscated. A total of four suspects were arrested. Earlier, PTA had filed a complaint with FIA after abnormal SIM sale pattern was observed at the sale channel.

The PTA has recently launched Multi Finger Biometric Verification System (MBVS) in December 2022 and the raid is part of its efforts to proactively control the attempts being made to bypass the new system.

The PTA has identified and blocked 4,395,566 SIMs suspected to be involved in grey trafficking during 2020- 22, to safeguard potential loss.

Grey traffic is essentially the concealment of incoming international telephone calls (traffic), which are terminated on fixed and mobile networks by using illegal channels and other means for the purpose of avoiding taxes/levies adding that biometric verification is related to the proper issuance of SIMs and is not a direct measure to control grey traffic.

Furthermore, grey traffic is terminated through mobile connections as well as other fixed-line termination channels. Official revealed that the PTA regularly analyses traffic data of international incoming calls with a view to identifying SIMs suspected to be involved in grey traffic.

Upon detection, these SIMs are blocked to safeguard potential loss. During 2020-22, a total of 4,395,566 such SIMs have been identified and blocked. Whereas, based upon irregularities observed in issuance of a number of grey SIMs, a fine of Rs150 million has also been imposed on respective CMOs. However, no CMO itself has been identified in using such SIMs for grey traffic termination.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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