PTA confirms that cellular firms have switched off over 14 million SIMs

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As per the directives from Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA), all the currently operating cellular firms in Pakistan: Mobilink, Telenor, Zong, Warid and Ufone have switched off over 14 million SIMs till December 2014. The deactivation spree has gathered momentum after the attacks in Peshawar earlier this month.

Telcos were strictly ordered to discard unauthorized SIMs and the potential threat which were obvious due to their free issuance.5 SIMs were utilized in the terrorist attack in Peshawar school and telecom companies came under fire for no check and balance.

In order to encounter such devastating attacks in future, the cellular operators and governments authorities have been arranging meetings on regular basis, whose main motive is to draft a plan which would comprise an implementation to abandon a SIM after a set inactive tenure.

At present, the telcos are deactivating any SIM that has been inactive for over 90 days. A PTA official mentioned that:

There is yet a room for aggressive action plan for shutting down unregistered SIMs entirely. Industry and government staff may soon reach a full-fledge and practicable standard operating procedure (SOP) for abduction of the entire ghost” SIMs that are becoming a serious headache for security agencies.

Earlier, the Interior Ministry of Pakistan have ordered the cellular networks to re-check their respective user-bases within 28 days, which caused anger amongst them, with one source mentioning this order as “not viable”.

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