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Published on April 21st, 2011 | by Arsalan Mir


Concerns Over Multiple SIMs and False IMEI Devices

Owing to curb the law and order situation rising due to Multiple SIMs and False IMEI devices, Minister of Interior Rehman Malik has yet again shown serious concerns. In recent meeting with the top executives of cellular operators the minister the following recommendations were laid forward:

  1. One SIM against one CNIC and block the rest.
  2. Prepaid SIMs verification to be completed in 30 days.
  3. Curtail unbranded cell phones and cell phones with same IMEI numbers.
  4. Synchronizing SIMs with IMEI numbers with the help of service provider and NADRA.
  5. Cellular companies to advise their contract customers to re-verify their IDs/SIMs again.
  6. Identify all those consumers holding the sets with duplicate / multiple IMEI against one SIM within 10 days and inform the consumer accordingly.
  7. No import of mobile phones without PTA authorization. PTA to issues licenses of importing phones after doing due diligence.
  8. PTA will issue standards/specifications of cellular phones to be imported. The importers have to submit specifications, IMEI number of cellular phones and sets to PTA before getting import license.
  9. FBR has been advised not to clear any consignment without PTA authorization.
  10. No mobile phone SIMs should be given to buyer on the spot, rather it will be posted on their residential address after necessary verification from NADRA.

The Federal Secretary Interior,Chairman PTA, Provincial Home Secretaries, Chief Commissioner Islamabad, IGP Islamabad and reps of Intelligence Agencies, FIA and stakeholders were also present in the meeting.

Let’s take a look at this 10 point recommendations of which few are appreciable, some are not even practical given the time period while some are contrary to already laid down regulations.

  1. We had discussed on the multiple SIMs phenomenon earlier, and the problem lies in the regulation. Under the rules, a cellular operator can issue 10 SIMs to a subscriber having a computerised national identity card (CNIC). Now imagine this number with 5 cellular operators. To reduce the multiple SIM chaos, PTA must act to revise this rule.
  2. All operators have the 789 system for new SIM verification/activation. We also have the 668 SIM information system where CNIC holders can ensure of  number of SIMs issued in their names. Both were lauded and successful, yet again we are striving to get the verification process? More important than to complete the process in 30 days is to find out the the loop holes in the current process/system.
  3. This is very appreciable and something that the government needs to work on. A legislation can be devised to completely ban such devices in Pakistan. Operators must then get all such devices barred from the network.
  4. If what this means is that SIM, IMEI and CNIC must be recorded on the same table, it is easily doable if SIM and NADRA data gets fixed because SIM and IMEI are already recorded with operator.
  5. If it is about post-paid customers their respective account managers can take care of this in a given time-line. About prepaid customers re-verification, it will not only be a lengthy process but this will also demand significant monetary input. Will the government share this burden with operators or order them to do the needful?
  6. Doable but 10 days are less for such an activity. It will require a proper awareness campaign and a time-line be given to customers to stop used of  the non-unique and false IMEI devices. After a given time-line such devices can be barred from the network.
  7. Authorized imports is appreciable if done in channelized way. This again requires proper law-making.
  8. Like seventh, proper law-making is needed.
  9. How can it be under implementation without proper law-making?
  10. If an proper effective registration and verification system gets in place, such a step will not be needed.

In the end if the Honorable Interior Minister is so serious on these recommendation then the next step will be forwarding them to the Ministry of IT and Telecom (MoITT) where we yet again have no dedicated Minister.

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About the Author

is a Telecom enthusiast with engineering background based in Lahore. On professional front, he is the Director Operations at the Target Group. He can be reached at arsalan (at) telecompk (dot) net

15 Responses to Concerns Over Multiple SIMs and False IMEI Devices

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  8. AHMED says:

    Only 6 and 7 point looks valid to be is all about interference in public personel life to scare and do policeing on public nothing as.stop making this place worse is already a hell.let the people of pakistan to live and breath.already suppressed nation.

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  11. Quli says:

    People ‘actually’ discussing the contents of an absurd recommendation!
    Rehman Malik doesnt know the ABC’s of security. One day we’ll find out that we can only use mobiles after getting an NOC from the government and cronies will be responsible for ‘recommending’ who gets the NOC.
    The only way to respond to such recommendations is not discuss the content, but rather outright reject anything that may hamper our liberty

  12. Faried Nawaz says:

    #3 and #6 are good ideas, but the rest just seems like interference by the government. They’re steps you’d see in a police state; is the situation so bad that casting suspicion on the entire population is the government’s only option?

  13. sulehri says:

    Usman’s point seconded. Even my father uses sim issued on my NIC so that I can get any problem resolved with my NIC whenever there is an issue.

    A better solution should be 1 sim per Network, keeping the sims already issued intact and not issuing 2 SIMS of same network on a single NIC in future.

    All phones with multiple/ changeable IMEIs must be blocked.

    Cell phone price will rise if points 7 & 8 are implemented as PTA staff will get a means of “ooper ki kamai”

  14. Usman Khawar says:

    I do agree that they need to close the loopholes in Pakistan Telecom. But i don’t agree to single sim per NIC rule. For example in Pakistan there is a (genuine)concern among women in issuing sims on their own NICs. Therefore they usually issue it on the NIC of gents at home. And therefore the gents do generally tend to end up with more than a single sim on their NIC.

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