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PNG plans to register SIM cards

11 April 2014

A GOVERNMENT agency will begin monitoring the use of subscriber identity module (SIM) cards because of the abuse of telecommunication services, an official says.

National Information and Communication Technology Authority chief executive officer Charles Punaha said since the PNG telecommunication market was opened up for competition in 2007, there had been no control measures in place.

“When we open up the market in 2007, there was no control measure in place. You can just walk down the road and buy a SIM card without (producing) any identification,” he said.

“Unfortunately as we all know, that has resulted in us not having some records of what particular numbers are allocated to individuals or to companies.

“And related to that, we have seen abuse - people abusing the services when they are sending defamatory messages to other people.

“Currently we cannot track who that particular SIM belongs to.”

He said the new regulations were before the State Solicitor to clear and issue NICTA a certificate of necessity to go to cabinet “hopefully by the end of the month”.

“We are going to make it mandatory that if you want to buy a SIM card, you must have some form of identification.

“We are in discussions with one of the operators who want to take it further and do a full biometrics. So when you go to buy a SIM card, you’ll have your photograph and fingerprint taken as well.”

Punaha said three months after the regulation was approved, NICTA would introduce the regulation so that all places where SIM cards were being sold must have the machines to register customers identifications and bio data.

He said customers would have to re-register after 18 months otherwise their cards would be cancelled.

Port Moresby (The National)


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