ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has directed all telecom companies not to take ‘disowning of SIMs charges’ from customers.

According to PTA, it was found during its hearing that most of the mobile companies were levying ‘disowning of SIM charges’. Different companies were charging Rs250 to Rs300 which were unreasonable and without any justification, PTA determination said. It further said that companies, to acquire market share, were selling SIMS without charges. CMOs, during the hearing, said that cost of SIM was between Rs170 to Rs240.

PTA observed that the free SIM phenomena can be exploited in terms of grey traffic and the traffickers could acquire free SIMs despite biometric system and use it in their boxes until they are identified and then they easily discard those.

In its order, the authority fixed price of issuance of SIM and said that all companies should charge a minimum rate. Minimum sale price for issuance of any type of new SIM including 3G and 4G at the retail level would be Rs200 in Pakistan as well as Azad Jammu Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan.

Pakistan Telecommunication Mobile Limited lodged a complaint to PTA that due to intense competition some of the mobile companies were dumping the SIMs in the market.

It is pertinent that hearing into the matter by the learned authority took place in July and it took around six months to issue the order. The decision is applicable since December 01, 2016.