In Pakistan, where free SIMs are readily available and often acquired in excess, a prevalent issue persists – numerous SIMs lying dormant and unused. Recognizing the need for a remedy for unused mobile SIMs, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has intervened, declaring a penalty of Rs200 for individuals neglecting their SIMs for an extended six-month period.
Cracking Down on Unused Mobile SIMs
Effective from January 1, 2024, cellular mobile operators across Pakistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), and Gilgit Baltistan (GB) are empowered to impose a “SIM Disowning Charge” of up to Rs200 on SIMs left unused for over six months.
To facilitate compliance, the PTA offers accessible methods for consumers to check the status of their registered SIMs. This includes visiting the online portal https://cnic.sims.pk/ or sending an SMS with their CNIC number (without dashes) to 668, albeit with associated charges.
Encouraging Responsible Usage
In a proactive move, the PTA urges consumers to relinquish unnecessary SIMs before December 31, 2023, without incurring any charges. “By doing so, consumers can avoid SIM disowning charges and contribute towards responsible usage of SIMs,” emphasized the PTA in its official statement.
Acknowledging exceptional cases, the PTA grants a one-time waiver against the SIM disowning charge for instances of illegal SIM issuance without the consumer’s knowledge or consent. As articulated by the PTA, the overarching objective is to uphold national safety and security while ensuring uninterrupted and high-quality services for all telecom consumers.