The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has made a significant change to its procedures, extending the waiting period for obtaining a ‘New SIM Only’ from eight hours to seven days. The adjustment, outlined in the SOP titled ‘Increasing Buffer between New SIM Sale Sessions from 8 hours to 7 days,’ addresses misconceptions that arose after its release on January 18.
The decision to elongate the waiting period is a strategic move by the PTA to combat the tactics employed by fraudulent groups. These groups often exploit the existing eight-hour interval between successive biometric verifications from the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) for SIM-related transactions. The extended waiting time exclusively applies to new SIMs and aims to curb the swift activation of multiple illegal SIMs. This deceptive practice is frequently carried out under the guise of consumer surveys, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and free ration schemes, targeting unsuspecting citizens.
The PTA clarified that the initial issuance of a new SIM remains unchanged, allowing immediate processing upon presentation of a Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC) through biometric verification. However, for subsequent new SIMs associated with the same CNIC, subscribers will now need to wait for seven days for biometric verification by NADRA.
It’s crucial to note that this SOP amendment does not impact the activation of duplicate SIMs or other SIM-related transactions, including changes of ownership and Mobile Number Portability (MNP).
Scheduled to take effect from January 24, this regulatory measure is part of the PTA’s efforts to safeguard against unauthorized or fraudulent issuance of SIM cards. The seven-day waiting period aims to enhance security and ensure responsible SIM card distribution, aligning with broader efforts to protect citizens from deceptive practices in the telecommunications sector.