The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has increased the waiting time for new SIM cards from eight hours to seven days. It has announced this update to its standard operating procedure (SOP).
The PTA stated it in a clarification of misconceptions about its letter titled “Increasing Buffer between New SIM Sale Sessions from 8 hours to 7 days”. PTA released a statement on January 18, 2024.
Before this, there has been an 8-hour gap between successive biometric verifications from NADRA for SIM-related transactions. Now, the PTA has increased this waiting time for new SIM issuance to seven days to counter fraud mafia practices.
The PTA stated that fraudulent methods involve fast activating illegal SIMs for fraudulent activities in the name of consumer surveys, NGOs, and free ration schemes for innocent residents.
The telecommunications body also stated that the first new SIM can be granted quickly on a CNIC via biometric verification. However, every subsequent new SIM on the same CNIC will need a subscriber to wait seven days for biometric verification by NADRA.
Hence, all operators, customer service offices, franchises, and stores will also have to follow these SOPs issued by PTA. According to PTA, the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) will implement these SOPs into their system.
The PTA also stated that the SOP update does not affect the activation of duplicate SIMs or other SIM-related transactions. It involves ownership changes and Mobile Number Portability (MNP). So, it means the new rule of PTA doesn’t affect things like getting a duplicate SIM or changing ownership of SIM.
According to PTA, they made this decision to limit the number of SIM cards to a single person in a day. This is because many people use fake thumbprints to get many SIM cards in one day.
However, the new SOP revision will take effect on January 24, 2024. It is part of regulatory steps to prevent unauthorized or fraudulent SIM card issuances.
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