Cellular mobile operators have initiated the implementation of a SIM disowning charge, as per directives from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), effective today, with charges ranging up to Rs. 200.
The PTA has opted not to extend the previously provided grace period for the disowning or return of unnecessary SIM cards. The decision to impose the SIM disowning fee is part of the PTA’s efforts to address the misuse of free SIM cards and combat mobile services’ involvement in illicit activities.
Applicable across all provinces of Pakistan, including Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan, the disowning fee comes after the PTA urged consumers to voluntarily return unnecessary SIM cards without charges by December 31, 2023.
The PTA clarifies that the disowning fee is for SIM cards with a retention period of less than six months. However, customers are eligible for a one-time waiver if a SIM card is issued in their name illegally and without consent.
The decision to implement this fee is a response to reports received by the PTA, indicating the exploitation of the free disowning facility. Certain users were allegedly handing over SIM cards to unauthorized individuals for use in illegal activities, subsequently disowning the SIM cards once identified, and obtaining a new SIM card from another provider.
The PTA’s move aims to strike a balance between providing consumers with a fair opportunity to disown unnecessary SIM cards and preventing the misuse of this facility for illegal purposes.