No SIM sales through Retailers and Temporary Outlets during 91 days

ISLAMABAD (ABRAR MUSTAFA )

Pakistan Telecom Authority issued Draft of SOP for re-verification of all Sims with in 90 Days. As per guide line No new SIM sales shall be made through Retailers and Temporary Outlets during 91 days of exercise so that efforts can be concentrated on re-verification process only. Furthermore, promotions of new sales at other channels shall be minimized. Telecoalert.com get draft of SoP issued to all Telecos. This document revealed that CMOs shall not offer any commission or incentive to sale channels for re-verification.

Periodic Surveys by PTA teams to check compliance of the process. Surprise visits by CMOs on weekly basis and weekly report to PTA as per format mentioned at Para 8(a)(4) above. All sale channels shall be covered in a periodic manner. A comprehensive survey plan shall be given by CMOs by 28th January 2015, in this regard which shall be approved by PTA and reports shall be submitted accordingly.

Strict action shall be initiated by respective CMOs against the violating sale outlets.

In order to ensure, that the system is functioning according to laid down parameters, PTA, FIA and IB shall be responsible to carry-out joint technical audit of the system. Furthermore, after completion of exercise (i.e. 91 days), if any non-BVS Verified SIM, is found/reported to be operating, meeting following criteria, the respective mobile operator shall be held responsible:

The SIM is registered on a CNIC which has more than one SIMs on that operator, and

The SIM is operational for a period less than 2 years.

Here is draft of Standard Operating Procedure,

Standard Operating Procedure

On Re-Verification of Existing SIMs Through Biometric Verification System (BVS)

Background. PTA along-with Cellular Mobile Operators (CMOs) embarked upon the process of issuance of new SIMs through biometric verification from NADRA in a phased manner, starting from December 2013 (In Karachi) and culminating on 1st August 2014, when deployment of Biometric Verification System (BVS) was completed all across Pakistan. However, concerns are being raised by Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) regarding authenticity of existing SIMs (those issued prior to BVS era) especially activated in 789 regime, during last one and a half year, when the phenomenon of identity theft led to the collapse of earlier verification system.

It is a known fact that there is no unregistered SIM, as all the SIMs have been registered against valid CNICs. However, the issue of un-authorized SIMs i.e. those SIMs issued without the knowledge of the CNIC holder is a point of concern. The situation has further aggravated due to current law & order situation in the country. The circumstances require that existing SIMs (issued prior to BVS era) be re-verified through newly deployed BVS. Hence, PTA along-with other stake-holders (Ministry of Information Technology (MoIT), Ministry of Interior (MoI), NADRA, FIA, IB and CMOs have been working on the modalities of the re-verification process including target subscribers, phases of re-verification, timelines and the execution process.

Based upon the above background, this SOP is being issued so that the details of complete process are well understood and executed. The phase-wise segregation of re-verification project including system readiness, target subscribers, starting date of each phase and blocking deadlines of unverified subscribers has been given at Appendix-A. The same may vary based upon progress review which is planned after thirty days (30) of initial launch. The modalities to be adopted by mobile companies are enumerated in the subsequent paras.

System Readiness. CMOs shall be responsible for development and deployment of relevant software/hardware for each phase as per specification and deadlines given at Appendix-A (may change afterwards depending upon progress review planned after 30 days of initial launch).

Target Subscribers. CMOs shall work out the target subscribers for each phase as per the criteria given at Appendix-A and shall submit a CD containing CNICs VS MSISDNs (CSV format) of the same to PTA along-with the summary, prior to start of each phase in the following format:

 

Phase Total Count of Target CNICs Total Count of Target SIMs

 

  1. Awareness Campaigns.  All target subscribers will be sensitized to visit sale channels of their respective CMO and re-verify SIMs registered on their CNICs through BVS via SMS campaign, print, electronic and digital media. Phase-wise awareness campaign will be executed as per following plan:

 

Media Modalities Execution
SMS Campaign Following text shall be sent to target subscribers twice: 

First SMS.  “Aap kay tahaffuz kay liye SIM ki biometric tasdeeq zroori hai. Lihaza mutalqa retailer, franchise ya customer center se fori rabta krain – Govt. of Pakistan.”

 

Second SMS. “Moaziz sarif, SIM ki biometric tasdeeq foran krwa lain wrna aap ki SIM dd/mm/yyyy ko band kar di jaye gi – Govt. of Pakistan.”

Each phase. CMOs shall insert blocking dates as per the relevant phase.
Print Media Extensive print media campaign in leading English/Urdu/Local Language newspapers. Media plan shall be finalized by CMOs and shall be shared with PTA prior to start of Phase-1. Prior to start of Phase – 1. Subsequently on need basis.
Electronic Media TV & Radio (local channels) – Media plan shall be finalized by CMOs and shall be shared with PTA prior to start of Phase-1 (for radio) and Phase-2 (for TV). Radio spots shall be aired prior to Phase I while, TV ads will be aired as early as possible subject to readiness. Subsequently on need basis.
Digital Media Social media & websites – Media plan shall be finalized by CMOs and shall be shared with PTA prior to start of Phase-2.
Point of Sale (POS) Material POS Material containing the process (in local language) shall be displayed/available at Sale Channels Each phase

 

  1. Flow of Re-verification Process. The process flow shall be as follows:

 

  1. Verification of Primary MSISDN

 

(1)        Customer shall visit the retailer/franchisee/CSC of respective CMO, and shall provide his/her CNIC number along with the MSISDN to be used as primary number for re-verification through BVS.

(2)        The sale channel shall send CNIC number, MSISDN and related biometric credentials to the system of respective CMO using the “Re-Verification” interface.

(3)        The system shall verify the ownership of the MSISDN against the particular CNIC and verification status whether the primary number is already verified or otherwise. In case the primary number is not verified through BVS, only then the system shall send the biometrics (thumb/finger impression) of the subscriber to NADRA for verification. However, if the CNIC entered doesn’t match the MSISDN related CNIC number in the system; the process will stop there and subscriber shall be asked to provide correct number or proceed for Change of Ownership as per process outlined at Appendix-B.

(4)        Upon successful BVS verification from NADRA, system shall mark this MSISDN and CNIC combination as “Biometric Re-verified”.

(5)        Message shall be sent to the said MSISDN (primary number), both in English & Urdu, indicating that this number has been “Biometric Re-verified”.

(6)        However, if NADRA response is not successful, then the process will not be executed further and a SMS will be sent to the primary number advising to contact the nearest NADRA center.

 

  1.       Verification of Remaining MSISDNs of Respective CMO

 

  • Upon successful BVS Verification of primary MSISDN, the CMO shall send a list of all other numbers (MSISDNs) of that CMO that are registered in the system against the same CNIC through a SMS, to the primary number, from a designated short code 789, after twenty four (24) hours and within seven (7) days of his/her biometric re-verification.
  • The subscriber shall have to respond back to that SMS within forty eight (48) hours by sending those MSISDNs (numbers) which he/she agrees to own (considered as Re-verified) and deleting the numbers which he/she disowns (Not verified). Log/content of the SMS shall be permanently maintained by the respective CMO for cross-verification /evidence purposes.
  • All such MSISDNs (numbers) sent back through return SMS by the subscriber, shall be considered as “Biometric Re-verified” as well against the said CNIC number, provided they are already registered on that CNIC. Successful biometric re-verification messages, both in Urdu & English) will be sent to each of these numbers.
  • Those MSISDNs (numbers) which were not sent back through the return SMS will be considered as “Disowned” from that time and will be put through to the Disowned Numbers process as outlined at Appendix-B.
  • In case, no response is received from the subscriber, a reminder SMS shall be sent to the primary number. In case, no response is received within 10 days, all other numbers except the primary number shall be considered disowned and treated as per Appendix-B.
  • All such numbers sent through the return SMS for which the CNIC number in the database doesn’t match will be considered as “Not verified” and no action shall be taken.
  • Following additional checks shall be incorporated in the system to ensure that the SMS reply is being sent by already verified subscribers:
  • (i). Whether there was a 789 SMS sent to the Primary Verified number by the respective CMO or otherwise. If not, then the response SMS should not be considered for the re-verification of remaining numbers.
  • (ii). If the response SMS is received from a number (MSISDN) which has not yet been primary re-verified through BVS; then the response SMS should not be considered for the re-verification of remaining numbers.
  • CMOs shall update their database accordingly by placing same transaction ID i.e. of primary MSISDN against all subsequent verified MSISDNs for cross checking purpose. Complete trail of primary and remaining numbers verified in this manner shall be maintained by CMOs and the data shall be provided to PTA as and when required.
  • 668 data at PMD shall also be updated accordingly by concerned CMO within 24 hours.

Note:

  • CMOs can also perform this process through display of remaining MSISDNs against BVS verified CNIC in coded form (e.g. 03xx-xxxx234) and asking the subscriber for owning/disowning the same. However, this process shall only be allowed at Customer Service Center (CSCs) of CMOs.
  • Alternatively, when a subscriber approaches a sale channel for re-verification, CMOs may ask all the numbers from customer and feed these numbers to the system for performing verification through BVS in one go. Any other numbers registered on that CNIC and not informed by the subscriber shall be disowned and dealt as per process mentioned at Appendix-B. However, if this process is used, access of all numbers against un-verified CNICs shall be blocked for franchisees for entire 91 days of the re-verification exercise.
  • CMOs may also carry-out the re-verification of all numbers through the process give at Para 7(a) i.e. each number being verified separately through a separate BVS transaction. Numbers registered on CNIC of a subscriber shall not be displayed at Franchisee and Retailers at any cost.
  • Irrespective of the mechanism used, CMOs shall make sure through system checks that the facility is not misused by the sale channels by owning/disowning numbers without the knowledge/consent of the subscriber and only those numbers are verified which are held against customer’s CNIC only.

 

  1. Monitoring of the Project

 

  1. Submission of Reports. CMOs shall submit reports depicting the re-verification as per following format:

 

  • Summary – to be provided on Daily Basis

 

Date CNICs Approached Company for Re-Verification CNICs Verified SIMs Verified (against CNICs) SIMs Disowned for Blocking

 

 

  • Summary – Sale Channels with Top Verifications (More than 50 Per Week) – Weekly Basis

 

 

Sale Channel ID Sale Channel Name Sale Channel Address Total Verifications (During the Week) Total Verifications of the Sale Channel

 

(3)        Details – to be provided on Requirement Basis

 

Date CNIC # BVS ID MSISDN Activity (Verified/Disowned)

 

Sale Channel ID CNIC # BVS ID MSISDN Activity (Verified/Disowned)
         

 

(4)        Survey Reports – to be provided on Weekly Basis

 

Survey Dates Outlets Visited Violations Observed Action Taken

 

  1. Carrying Out Surveys
  • Periodic Surveys by PTA teams to check compliance of the process.
  • Surprise visits by CMOs on weekly basis and weekly report to PTA as per format mentioned at Para 8(a)(4) above. All sale channels shall be covered in a periodic manner. A comprehensive survey plan shall be given by CMOs by 28th January 2015, in this regard which shall be approved by PTA and reports shall be submitted accordingly.
  • Strict action shall be initiated by respective CMOs against the violating sale outlets.

 

  1. Progress Review Meetings: In order to review the progress of the project, progress review meetings shall be held on weekly/bi-weekly basis. A major review is planned after 30 days of commencement of exercise.

 

  1. Role of NADRA. NADRA shall be entrusted to facilitate in following manner:

 

  1. In order to handle bulk re-verification requests and to execute the whole exercise smoothly, NADRA is required to ensure system redundancy, IT readiness and facilitation of mismatched customers on fast track basis.
  2. NADRA in collaboration of CMOs shall evolve an alternate process of re-verification in order to facilitate subscribers which cannot be verified through BVS due to any genuine reason i.e. physical disability, disease or old age.
  3. Buffer of 2 hours applicable on other BVS transactions shall not be applicable on transactions initiated through “Re-Verification” interface. However, 2 hours check shall remain intact between “Re-Verification” and all other transactions.
  4. Sale of SIMs through retailers and temporary outlets has been barred till 13th April 2015. NADRA shall ensure that new sale requests from these sale outlets are not verified through BVS, during this period.

 

  1. Audit of System. In order to ensure, that the system is functioning according to laid down parameters, PTA, FIA and IB shall be responsible to carry-out joint technical audit of the system. Furthermore, after completion of exercise (i.e. 91 days), if any non-BVS Verified SIM, is found/reported to be operating, meeting following criteria, the respective mobile operator shall be held responsible:
  2. The SIM is registered on a CNIC which has more than one SIMs on that operator, and
  3. The SIM is operational for a period less than 2 years.

 

  1. Provision of Sale Channels Details on Websites of CMOs & PTA. CMOs shall ensure availability of all BVS enabled sale channels on their respective websites. The same shall also be provided to PTA for placing at PTA’s website. It shall be ensured that the sale channels are easily searchable based upon a specific area/city. CMOs shall ensure that the lists are updated on fortnightly basis.

 

  1. Re-Verification Fee. In order to discourage unnecessary re-verification attempts by general public, a re-verification fee of Rs.10/- per CNIC shall be charged from the subscriber. Furthermore, NADRA re-verification fee would also be Rs.10 per BVS transaction i.e. Rs.3 for BVS and Rs.7 for data per transaction.

 

  1. General Agreed Principles. With a view to make the verification process more transparent and foolproof, implementation of following agreed principles shall be ensured:

 

  1. No new SIM sales shall be made through Retailers and Temporary Outlets during 91 days of exercise so that efforts can be concentrated on re-verification process only. Furthermore, promotions of new sales at other channels shall be minimized.
  2. CMOs shall not offer any commission or incentive to sale channels for re-verification.
  3. A uniform Re-Verification Fee of Rs.10/- per CNIC shall be charged from the subscriber in order to discourage misuse of the system/process.
  4. CMOs shall make sure that New Sale, SIM Change, COO and MNP is not allowed to a subscriber till any of his/her existing SIM, on a particular operator, is un-verified through BVS.
  5. Clear/strict warnings, through formal communication, shall be sent by all CMOs to their all Sale Channels asking them to adhere by the laid down procedures else strict legal action shall be taken against violators/abusers of the process. The task is to be carried out before start of the re-verification process/
  6. CMOs shall be allowed to carry-out kiosk/door to door activities, for re-verification only, in order to facilitate corporate customers/offices/universities, etc. However, CMOs shall ensure engagement of their own or franchisee staff for the task. Appropriate identification documents (cards in case of own employees and authorization letters/agreements with CMO, in case of franchisees, shall be made available) for cross checking purposes. Such facilities shall not be used for sale of new SIMs except in case of special circumstances after obtaining PTA’s permission.
  7. All SIMs that are not re-verified during their respective phase i.e. 45 days for phase 1 and 46 days for phase 2, shall be blocked after expiry of their respective deadlines. However, only those SIMs that are registered on a CNIC having only one SIM per CNIC per CMO and in-use for at-least last two years may spill over. The spill over blocking period shall be intimated later.
  8. CMOs shall restrict access to all numbers against un-verified CNICs for franchisees for entire 91 days of the re-verification exercise.

 

  1. Conclusion. The above mentioned SOP is broader guideline for execution. CMOs may, however, develop their own additional procedures in line with guidelines to ensure authentic/verified mobile subscribers’ antecedents in the best national security interest.

 

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