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NTC orders telcos to report on SIM law registry issues

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MOBILE operators are required to report to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) issues related to the first day of implementation of the SIM Registration Law.

In a memorandum dated December 27, NTC Deputy Commissioner Ella Blanca Lopez said: “You are hereby directed to report to this Commission the incidents of incomplete registration, platform involved, number of subscribers affected, geographical area, and actions taken to address these issues, as well as actions taken to mitigate or eliminate future incidents of similar nature.”

Telcos are required to submit their reports on Wednesday, December 28.

“The Commission has received information of numerous incidents involving unsuccessful or incomplete SIM registration from the general public. There are also initial social media reports of registration sites being down or inaccessible to subscribers,” Lopez said.

When sought for comments and clarifications, Smart Communications Inc. Spokesperson Cathy Yang said on the first day of SIM Registration, 244,840 Smart Prepaid, Smart Bro, and TNT users; and 143,682 Smart Postpaid subscribers, or a total of 388,522 subscribers, were able to complete their SIM registration.

She admitted that there were glitches in Smart’s portal, but noted that these are common in new processes.

“While these glitches and birth pains are common during the initial stages of implementing new systems, we continue to optimize our SIM registration platform to mitigate future incidents, and to better serve more Filipinos. We are likewise confident that we will be able to accommodate the registration of all existing subscribers within the deadline set by the law and the implementing rules and regulations. Rest assured that we are doing our best to deliver the best SIM registration experience possible for our subscribers,” she said.

For her part, Globe Telecom Inc. Spokesman Yoly Crisanto said Globe has logged over 1.5 million SIM registrations as of 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Its platform only went online on Wednesday, after some “fine-tuning and optimization for better customer experience.”

“Our SIM registration platform is back up and running, and we’re happy to report that our customers are logging in to register. We shall continue to closely monitor the site’s performance using the 72-hour window from December 27 to check the stability and full optimization of the system,” Crisanto said.  Dito Telecommunity Corp., on the other hand, said its registration process has been “successful” with “close to 500,000” subscribers registered.

It added that it is in “close coordination” with the NTC.

The three telcos launched on Tuesday their respective platforms for SIM Registration.

Smart’s website suffered glitches, with the platform showing 502 Bad Gateway notifications, while Globe had to go temporarily offline due to some optimization works and “potential minor vulnerabilities in the microsite.”

Dito, on the other hand, reported “success” and described the maiden implementation as “smooth,” given that it used its mobile application for the registration process.

As of 4 p.m. on Wednesday, both Globe and Smart’s SIM Registration platforms are accessible to the public.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. signed into law the SIM Registration Act on October 10. Under the new law, mobile phone users are required to register their mobile numbers and their identities with their mobile operators. The law aims to reduce scamming and phishing incidents, which have become rampant over the course of the pandemic.

It also hopes to address misinformation, spam messages, and deter crimes such as human trafficking, online sexual abuse and exploitation of children, and terrorism, among others.

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