Why PH telcos oppose move to register SIM cards
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Chamber of Telecommunications Operators (PCTO) is opposing the renewed proposal by lawmakers to register SIM cards of mobile phones.
Atty. Rodolfo Salalima, president of PCTO and chief legal counsel of Globe Telecom and Innove Inc., said there is “nothing new” in the SIM Card Registration Act, maintaining that it is an ineffective solution to prevent crimes.
Salalima said that while the telecommunication industry shares the public safety concern, registering over 100 million SIM cardholders will be an “administrative nightmare” and “unpractical.”
In a position paper addressed to the House of Representatives Committee on Information and Telecommunications Technology, Salalima said “the purpose will be naught and simply cannot be attained via the means proposed because of other cogent and valid reasons” given by the industry during past congressional hearings on similar bills.”
Salalima reiterated that aside from being unreasonable, SIM card registration will not be a deterrent to criminals, and may take years before it is made effective.
He added that if the bills are enacted into law, it may violate the “right to telecommunicate” laid out by the United Nations’ Committee on Human Rights.
“The industry respectfully views the House bills as negative factors which, despite their good intent, will stifle and in effect contravene any and every individual’s human right to telecommunicate in the Internet Era,” he said.
Among the members of the PCTO are Bayantel, Digitel, Globe, PLDT, and Smart Communications.
Calls to register prepaid SIM cards were renewed following a deadly bombing incident in Cagayan de Oro City, wherein a mobile phone was used as a triggering device.
Recent data showed that 2 billion text messages are sent daily in the country using more than 100 million SIM cards. Of the figure, only around 3% is postpaid.