Incidence of forced SIM porting rising | Pakistan Today

Incidence of forced SIM porting rising

KARACHI – Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has received a total of 294 complaints of alleged porting of SIMs without consent of the individual involved in the last six months of the previous year. This shows the gravity of the threat posed to rights of mobile phone subscribers.
According to details provided by PTA to Pakistan Today, the authority has received complaints regarding the illegal change of network after Mobile Number Portability (MNP) was introduced and that are implemented through generation of Number Portability Request (NPR) initiated by the legal owner of the mobile subscription through filling of the NPR form at the Recipient operator’s franchise/CCS (in line with Mobile Number Portability Regulation, 2005 and MNP Guidelines regarding change of network of a mobile subscription).
This also becomes evident in the Annual Report of the authority issued for 2009-10 where it is clarified that the PTA has introduced a new category of complaints under the domain of number portability, which is witnessing a rising trend and stands at 2.9 percent of total complaints from January to June 2010. The authority had clarified that over the course of a year; more than 40 percent of consumer complaints comprised of misuse of service, so this relatively new phenomenon is causing unease among telecom subscribers in general.
Sources at PTA informed that the authority is receiving more than 20 complaints at each zonal office in a month of SIMs being ported being allegedly out by cellular companies across the country in recent times. A particular case in point was brought to the attention of Pakistan Today, with a cellular company allegedly porting out a customer’s SIM in Karachi to a man residing at Dera Ghazi Khan. Despite repeated efforts, the company did not redress the issue and created security problems for the original subscriber.
Similarly, in another case in Karachi a golden number issued by one network was apparently ported out by another cellular company. In both cases, the incident occurred without the consent of the individual who was using the SIM. One can easily imagine the gravity of this issue as around 200,000 SIMs have apparently been ported in or out during a month across the country. This has lent to calls for the authority to prove it a regulator that can adress consumer complaints in a proper manner, sources added.
Necessary action has been taken by the PTA for reverting back of mobile subscriptions to original networks while involved franchises being penalised for the alleged illegal activity, the authority said. They went on to say that in order to further curtail incidence of illegal change of networks and to limit the role of franchisee in the subject activity, PTA has issued directive to all CMOs for implementation of a new rejection code integrating the usage of 667 short code.
The said directive has apparently been implemented in letter and spirit. According to the directive, unless the subscriber desires to change his or her service provider and sends a blank message to 667 verifying his user antecedent from the subject mobile subscription itself and is also verified at PMD as well as at the donor operators systems, NPR shall not be generated. This shall ensure that no illegal change of network takes place without user consent, they added.

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