ISLAMABAD - All mobile operators of the country have so far agreed to install the biometric system at every point of sale and increased the fee of SIM verification through biometric from Rs 13 to Rs 28 per transaction, sources said on Monday.
Since installation of biometric system can bring a change/ enhance the national security environment so with setting up the new system at every point of sale of SIM is expected to reduce the security risks in the country in coming days. Currently mobile phone companies are selling SIMs at 250,000 sales points across Pakistan (including service centers, retailers and franchises) and National Database and Registration Authority is engaged in the verification of SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) through its biometric system. During the last 3 to 4 years, the mobile operators had spent almost Rs 2 billion w.r.t. Nadra charges for different types of SIM verification processes.
Sources in telecommunication sector told TheNation about a major development that all the CEOs of country’s mobile operators have so far agreed to install biometric system at their every point of sale. The installation of complete biometric equipment at every point of sale would cost between Rs 35 to 40 thousand per outlet. They said that all the mobile operators being socially responsible corporate citizens and organisations on their own for at least 70-75,000 retail outlets would purchase this new device or the system across the country. They also said that National Database and Registration Authority related payment by mobile operators w.r.t. SIM verification through biometric would now increase from Rs 13 to Rs. 28 per transaction. The installation of complete biometric equipment at every point of sale will cost between Rs 35 to 40 thousand per outlet, they added.
Sources in mobile operators when contacted said that all the stakeholders should contribute in this matter, as this step had been taken for the purpose of national security and so they should be allowed a subsidy on the import of the equipment.
It is also learnt that all mobile operators have required from the Nadra to substantially reduce charges for the noble cause of national security, which is of dire need in the current situation. The government should bear 30-40 percent of the total equipment cost through import subsidies and funding available from different sources.
“To install a biometric system across Pakistan at around 70,000 - 75,000 retail points it will take a minimum of one year and cost approximately Rs 2.8 billion based on the availability of specialised equipment be imported from abroad,” a senior official at a mobile company on the condition of anonymity said, adding, “The cellular operators have agreed upon the installation, as in the past all mobile operators have always complied with all the directives from PTA.”