CommsUpdate: The Philippines’ Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has confirmed that with roughly two weeks to go before the deadline for mandatory mobile SIM registration, only 38% of SIM cards have been successfully registered.
Whilst DICT says it remains committed to maintaining its cut-off date of April 26, 2023, despite having the mandate to extend it, the SIM Card Registration Act is proving difficult to implement.
Of the total 168.9 million SIMs across the Philippines, only 64.1 million (37.94%) have been registered so far. That figure was 50.3 million SIMs (30%) at the end of March, indicating how slow progress has been.
As of April 9, PLDT’s Smart Communications had registered 32.038 million SIMs, Globe Telecom had completed 27.257 million registrations and DITO Telecommunity reported 4.818 million.
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has ordered the MNOs to report any problems encountered by users during the registration in a bid to speed up the process.
SIM registration meant to fight spam
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. signed the SIM Card Registration Act into law in October 2022. The law requires all subscribers to provide their personal information, including their name, address, and date of birth, in order to register their SIM card.
It also requires telcos and direct sellers to ask for a valid ID before selling SIM cards, while telcos must keep subscriber SIM cards on file. Under the law, the government the authority to deactivate any unregistered SIM card.
The SIM Card Registration Act was ostensibly enacted to fight text spam and scam messages, which have been a serious problem in the Philippines. While telcos welcomed the law when it was enacted, they also said at the time they would need more time to prepare for its implementation to make sure their systems are compliant with the new requirements.
PhilID is running to catch up
They also asked the government to ramp up the rollout of the government’s national ID system, PhilID, which they said would be essential in verifying the identity of subscribers.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) says just over 50 million physical and digital PhilIDs have been issued by the government to registered Filipinos as of March 2023. The PSA had originally planned to reach that number by the end of 2022, according to the Philippine Star.