Major telecommunications firms urged Filipinos to immediately register their SIM card starting today (Tuesday) instead of waiting until the last minute to do so during the 180-day registration deadline.
According to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), telco firms have expressed their readiness for the full implementation of the SIM Registration act even as they expect “birth pains” in the initial days.
“As relayed to us by the different telcos, they are already ready with their systems come [today] and then are ready to accept the registration nationwide starting December 27,” NTC Deputy Commissioner Jon Paulo Salvahan said in a press conference.
For registration concerns, users of Globe Telecom Inc. can visit https://new.globe.com.ph/simreg, DITO Telecommunity Corp. at https://dito.ph/registerDITO, and Smart at https://smart.com.ph/simreg.
“Based on our estimate, it is actually technically possible to finish registration of all 87 million Globe subscribers in less than 15 days, provided that all these subscribers really register on time and very early, and not wait for the last day of registration,” Globe Telecom Inc. corporate and legal services group head Ariel Tubayan said, citing results of their simulations.
Tubayan said users will be able to complete the process in a little less than 5 minutes.
He, however, acknowledged there may be “birth pains” and challenges, including users who kept their mobile numbers despite switching networks under the mobile number portability (MNP) system.
DITO Telecommunity Corp. chief administrative officer Adel Tamano said a key challenge is how to convince users to undergo the registration process.
“On the side of DITO, the big challenge is how to encourage the public to register because this is something new and it seems that by nature, there is a bit of hesitancy to register,” he said.
Tamano said DITO users who register their SIM cards will be given a reward of 2 gigabytes of mobile data upon completion.
PLDT Inc. and Smart Communications Inc. head of group corporate communications Cathy Yang said they are already prepared for the registration as telco firms rolled out information campaigns for their users.
“We tested the platform, and it is working,” she said.
For her part, Sen. Grace Poe called on the government and telco companies to ensure that the mandatory SIM registration will be a convenient, secure, and easy experience for mobile phone owners.
“The SIM registration should be as easy as texting or sending a message,” Poe said.
“Telcos should have portals for registration that are user-friendly and secure to encourage mobile users to enlist without hassle and interruption of services,” added Poe, the principal author and sponsor of the law.
Mobile phone users have 180 days to register their SIM or face getting deactivated from their respective service providers.
The SIM may be reactivated only after registering, but not later than five days after deactivation.
Another co-author of the law, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, said early SIM registration would enable authorities to track criminal-minded individuals who take advantage of unsuspecting customers.
He said the law includes provisions that would ensure the protection of customers’ personal information.
“Identity theft is precisely one of the online schemes that we want to prevent relative to the enactment of the SIM registration law,” he said.
The process of registration requires the following information: full name, date of birth, gender, address, and valid government ID or similar documents with a photo for personal users.
Business users must provide their business name, business address, and the full name of an authorized signatory.
Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte, for his part, expressed hope that the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the NTC have come up with an “ultrasafe cybersecurity system” in implementing the SIM registration.
This would “avoid any future breach in the sensitive data of registered cell phone subscribers and prevent public telecommunications entities or other groups from exploiting the would-be database for telemarketing purposes.”
“With the mandatory SIM registration, all mobile phone subscribers will be better protected against the plethora of phone-based scams like smishing, more so now when digital tricksters have managed to hack more personal information from their victims, including the actual names of these cellphone users they intend to swindle,” he said.
“It is high time that we secure our mobile SIMs from the proliferation of phone-based frauds through the mandatory registration of both prepaid and postpaid subscribers and their cellphone numbers,” Villafuerte added.