Estrada: Telcos should make SIM registration user-friendly, fuss-free

(MANILA BULLETIN) Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada on Tuesday, April 25 said telecommunication companies (telcos) should undertake the necessary steps to make the procedure for the registration of SIM (subscriber identity module) cards easier for prepaid subscribers. 
Estrada made the call after the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) announced a 90-day extension for the ongoing SIM registration. 
The senator said it is lamentable that only 49.31 percent of the 168 million subscribers have complied with the SIM Registration law. 
“We’re hoping that in the next 90 days, the 100% target registration will be met,” Estrada said.
Estrada said one of the biggest reason why a number of people are having a hard time complying with the requirements of the law is due to the process not being user-friendly for prepaid subscribers. 
Many also complain about the lack of internet connection or the inaccessibility of the registration sites which hampers registration.
“In the next 90 days, telcos should undertake the necessary actions to make the registration procedure fuss-free. No amount of information dissemination will work if the mobile network carriers will not address the concerns of the general public,” said Estrada, who is also a co-author and co-sponsor of the SIM Registration Act or Republic Act No. 11934. 
“Pundits will always have their say against this law but the majority will agree with me that the benefits of registered SIM outweigh the perceived threats or danger to people’s lives and public order,” he said.
“From the time RA 11934 was signed into law in October last year, the number of spam and scam text messages received daily by every mobile phone subscriber, myself included, reduced significantly or was almost nil,” the senator also noted.
Estrada reiterated that the purpose of enacting this law is to deter illegal acts aided by SMS technology and help law enforcers track down the perpetrators.
“Only the privacy of criminals will be compromised by the SIM registration law. Wala ng manghahangas na makapanloko sa text dahil mabibisto sila kapag rehistrado ang SIM (No one will dare to fraud through text messages, because they would be caught once their SIM are registered),” he stressed. 
Sen. Grace Poe, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Public Services, also welcomed the decision of the DICT to extend the period of SIM registration, which is supposed to end on April 26. 
Poe also said both the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and the telcos should double the efforts to reach out to more subscribers in rural and remote areas to ensure that “no one is left behind.”
She also said a “lot more ground needs to be covered” as key areas such as the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) have yet to be reached according to the data by NTC.
“It should be all hands on deck in expanding the reach of SIM Registration and in ensuring that no one gets left behind,” Poe said.

“DICT, NTC, and telcos must also disseminate the correct information on the law and help clarify the confusion surrounding it. It should be emphasized that SIMs will still be available in local retailers and sari-sari stores even past the SIM Registration deadline. Users will simply be required to register first before they can activate their new SIMs,” she stressed.