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Globe to register Philippines cards as Kenya sees growth hit by SIM law

Ernest Cu Globe Telecom.jpg

Globe Telecom in the Philippines is starting work on registering the SIM cards of over 87 million customers, as Kenyan telcos report similar rules are slowing growth.

In the Philippines Globe says it has begun preparations “to ensure a credible and customer-friendly rollout of the SIM Registration Act”, with a six-month deadline.

Ernest Cu (pictured), group president and CEO of Globe, said: “We intend for our SIM registration process to be as seamless and painless to our customers as possible. Our goal is to stay true to the spirit of the law in carrying out its provisions, while ensuring that the conduct of SIM registration will be secure, inclusive and convenient for our customers.”

The law is being implemented by the National Telecommunications Commission, which has started consultations with government agencies and telcos for purposes of crafting the rules and regulations.

Globe said it is “looking at international best practices in designing its SIM registration platform”.

Cu said: “We’d like to assure our customers that their data will be protected even as we give them a hassle-free registration process. We wish to effectively roll out this landmark law.”

But the impact of a government-imposed SIM regulation policy is shown up by Kenya’s Communications Authority (CA), which has reported a decline of 0.44% in the number of active mobile subscriptions in the country in the fourth quarter of the financial year.

The CA said: “ During the 2021-22 financial year, the mobile telephony segment was marked by a significant regulatory intervention which consisted of updating the registration details of all SIM cards in the country. This exercise resulted in the deactivation of SIM cards registered under incorrect identification details.”

The Kenyan regulator said that mobile operators had deactivated more than 124,689 “improperly registered” SIM cards in the first quarter of 2021-2022 and 287,214 SIM cards in the third quarter.

The CA has extended the 15 October deadline for a further 60 days, after already giving telcos a six-month extension “due to the high rate of non-compliance displayed by operators”.

The regulator said the deactivation of unregistered SIM cards will have an impact on the revenues of telcos, which generated revenues of US$2.6 billion in 2021.

In the Philippines, the SIM Registration Act “is envisioned to address escalating cybercrime in the country, including the proliferation of smishing and other forms of scam and spam messaging aided by the anonymity afforded by prepaid SIMs”, said Globe.

The company deactivated 16,215 mobile numbers and blacklisted 19,343 more between January to September “for involvement in scam and spam messaging”, said the company. It also says it blocked a total 1.3 billion spam and scam messages within the same period.