SIM Card Registration to Become Mandatory in PNG in 2014
Anonymous calls on prepaid and pre-activated Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) card in Papua New Guinea (PNG) will become a thing of the past as the National Information and Communications Technology Authority (NICTA) will make it mandatory for mobile phone operators to register the details of their subscribers.
NICTA CEO, Charles Punaha, made mention of this in his speech to the Papua New Guinea Computer Society (PNGCS) in their second seminar this year. More recently, NICTA officials also made the announcement on FM100 talkback show.
A public consultation document was released in June this year on the draft regulation for the move to seek views from stakeholders and consumers and is now going through the approval process to have legal affect.
The regulation will come into effect staring January 1, 2014, which means mobile operators will be, by law, required to register details of their subscribers. This also means that subscribers will now have to provide some form of identification before buying a SIM card.
Existing subscribers will be given a grace period of 18 months to register their details or face the possibility of discontinued service.
The move comes after rampant abuse of mobile phones and criminal activity. It will also be used to discourage the transmission of pornography (which is illegal in PNG) and curb fraudulent activities that have risen in the last few months.
Earlier this year, Finance minister, James Marape, also made a call to the major mobile operators to register their subscribers after bomb threats were made to his department and the Department of National Planning. The threats turned out to be hoaxes.
A public notice by NICTA will be made once the details have been ironed out with the mobile operators.
Meanwhile, NICTA is also assisting the government to formulate a cyber-crime policy for the country.