Philippines-based operators Globe Telecom and Smart Communications urged the government to extend the deadline for subscribers to register their SIMs, as less than half of subscribers have signed up.
Smart Communications wrote in its formal letter to the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), asking for a registration deadline extension of 120 days from the deadline day of April 26. It argued that the extension would give subscribers more time to secure valid proof of identity, which “remains a challenge” for the registration drive.
The operator stated cutting off people from their only means of connectivity can exclude them from key information and financial services. Currently, only 46% of Smart’s subscribers have registered.
Smart added it set up hundreds of assisted SIM registration booths in deep locations of the Philippines, in collaboration with the National Telecommunications Commission, DICT, the Department of Interior and Local Government.
Globe registered 32% of its total base which equates to 27.9 million subscribers. It also requested a deadline extension stating customers needed time to obtain their IDs.
To expedite the process, Globe also requested the government accept alternative forms of IDs, as many citizens do not hold government papers.
However, DICT stated there are no plans to extend the deadline and unregistered SIMs will be deactivated. The regulator revealed 62.2 million SIMs were registered on April 7, but this only accounts for 36.8% of total subscribers.