The PLDT Group has joined the calls for the extension of the deadline for SIM Registration, citing the need to assist marginalized and subscribers that are in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDA).
According to PLDT FVP Cathy Yang, wireless brands Smart and TNT are filing the extension request before the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) despite the “ballooning” of daily registrations.
“We are filing this request to help give ample time to all mobile users, particularly the marginalized sectors and those located in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas of the country, to register their SIMs,” she said.
Over the past few months, Smart has been setting up “hundreds” of assisted SIM Registration booths in far-flung municipalities in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, in close collaboration with organizer NTC, DICT, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), the inter-agency committee on remote areas registration, and other public telecommunications entities.
“Over the past 10 days, our daily registration numbers have ballooned as more customers catch up before the deadline,” Yang added.
These booths offer information and guidance on how to register Smart or TNT SIMs using acceptable ID cards, as well as provide physical assistance to senior citizens, persons with disabilities, and those using non-data phones.
“We are here to continuously support the government in its SIM Registration initiative. While we have led in the number of registrations to date with about 46 percent of our total number of subscribers already registered, and which is higher than industry average, we see the need to give subscribers more time to secure the government IDs required to register their SIMs. We stand ready with government to support any undertaking to fast track completing the SIM Registration process as required by law,” Yang said.
The PLDT Group joins rival Globe Telecom Inc. in seeking for an extension. On Tuesday, Globe said less than half of its total mobile users have yet to register their SIMs.
As of April 11, Globe said it has registered 27.85 million subscribers in its network, representing about 32 percent of its total mobile customer base. With just two weeks to go before the April 26 deadline, Globe has yet to reach at least 50 percent of total registrations.
This is despite its digital posts, in-app notifications, use of traditional media, face-to-face communications and instructional videos to drive urgency to register their SIMs, Globe said.
Third telco Dito was asked if it will also ask the government for an extension, but it has yet to reply to the BusinessMirror’s queries.
Latest data from the DICT showed that a total of 65.15 million SIMs have been registered so far, representing only 38.6 percent of the total Philippine SIM universe of 169 million subscribers.
Under Republic Act (RA) 11934 or the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Registration Act, all SIM users have until April 26, 2023 to register their SIMs under their name, or risk deactivation of their SIM.
DICT has yet to respond to media requests for comment. Earlier, ICT Undersecretary Anna Mae Lamentillo said the agency is mulling over the possibility of extending the deadline.