NTC: Prepare for SIM card registration after Christmas | Inquirer News

NTC: Prepare for SIM card registration after Christmas

By: - Reporter / @JeromeAningINQ
/ 05:30 AM December 15, 2022

Closeup of man putting SIM card on cellphone. STORY: NTC: Prepare for SIM card registration after Christmas

REGISTER EARLY | The National Telecommunications Commission advises the public to register their mobile cards early once registration starts on Dec. 27. A person only needs to give his name, birthday, address, gender and a government-issued picture ID. (INQUIRER FILE PHOTO)

MANILA, Philippines — The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) on Wednesday reminded the public to prepare for the registration of their subscriber identity module (SIM) cards starting two days after Christmas, saying that this will be done online to protect their privacy.

NTC consultant Edgardo Cabarios said that while the law does not impose a limit on the number of SIM cards one may register, the owners should be mindful about any unauthorized use.


President Marcos signed the SIM card registration law, Republic Act No. 11934, the first law he enacted, on Oct. 10. The NTC released its implementing rules on Dec. 12, setting a six-month registration period for all SIM cards—both postpaid and prepaid, old and new—beginning on Dec. 27.


Speaking at Wednesday’s Laging Handa briefing, Cabarios said a user with multiple SIM cards should be responsible for all of them because each one of the cards carried that person’s identity. One might be forgotten or lost and used by someone else, he said.

“And if it’s used for illegal activities, you will be the number one suspect, the primary suspect. So, you might have second thoughts about registering too many SIMs,” he said.

Cabarios expects that people will now think twice before registering multiple SIM cards under their names.

He said that SIM cards that get lost or stolen should be reported immediately to the telecommunications company which is obligated to deactivate them within 24 hours to prevent their use for illegal activities.

How many to expect

Last week, NTC Region 10 Director Teodoro Buenavista Jr. said that out of the 158.6 million active SIM cards in the Philippines, around 82 percent are prepaid.

Smart Communications Inc. said it had 71.2 million mobile, internet and digital subscribers by the end of 2021 and Globe Telecom Inc. had over 87.4 mobile customers as of October this year.


Dito Telecommunity has 14 million subscribers as of Dec. 14.

Cabarios said the implementing rules require telcos to set up their own registration websites or platforms where end users can register their SIM cards online.

“It’s on their (telcos’) platform because the intention is that no one else should get hold of the private information that you will be supplying. The private information should be well protected because it will be dangerous if others can get it to use for their own benefit,” Cabarios said.

The SIM card owners will be asked to provide personal information—name, address, date of birth and gender, along with a copy of a valid government-issued picture ID.


Those buying a new prepaid SIM card from Dec. 27 onwards should not give any personal information to the sellers as they are not authorized to collect such details under the law, Cabarios said.

He said that the SIM card would allow the person to register online after purchase even without a load.

“You just access the website or registration platform. Anywhere you are, you can register. It’s very convenient,” he said.

All new SIM cards to be sold starting Dec. 27 to prepaid or postpaid subscribers are deactivated. These cannot be used for making calls, sending text or browsing the internet until the buyer registers it on the telco’s website or online platform.

Cabarios warned buyers who deliberately register with fictitious or wrong information that they would be eventually caught, charged in court and face imprisonment of six months to two years, a P100,000 to P300,000 fine, or both.

The law says the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) may extend the six-month registration period for four more months.

But the NTC consultant, a former NTC deputy commissioner who had served as president of the Institute of Electronics and Communications Engineers of the Philippines, urged SIM card owners to register as soon as possible.

Cabarios said the telcos already have the personal information of postpaid subscribers which would be transferred to the SIM card registration platform where the owner can confirm or update the information they earlier provided.

In remote areas of the country where internet connection is slow or nonexistent, the NTC and the DICT can request the local government and other agencies to set up registration centers.

For foreign tourists

Foreign tourists can also obtain SIM cards but these will be valid for only 30 days, but they could be extended. They need to provide a copy of their passport, proof of hotel booking and return ticket.

Foreigners intending to reside, work or study in the country need to provide their government-issued permits and alien certificate of registration.

There is no SIM card expiration for those with nontourist visas and who intend to stay longer. They could travel abroad and have roaming options for the SIM cards, Cabarios said.

SIM cards for minors are to be registered in the name of a parent or guardian who must give consent to the registration.

Corporations and other juridical entities must provide a copy of their certificate of registration and a board resolution or special power of attorney designating the authorized holder of the SIM card.

Official links only

A member of the immediate family of a SIM card owner who dies must report the death to the telco. The SIM card registration of the deceased may be transferred to his family or a relative, otherwise it will be deactivated within 24 hours after the death is reported.

Yeo Siang Tiong, Southeast Asia general manager for the Russian cybersecurity company Kaspersky, recently reminded mobile subscribers to only use official website links or platforms for their SIM card registration.

The cybersecurity expert warned that there could be SIM card registration-related emails which might contain phishing links that could trick users into providing hackers their personal details.

The indicators of a phishing email include typographical errors and “strange characters” in the text, among others.

“Cybercriminals bet on victims who do not pay enough attention to detect slight changes made to the names of well-known companies or brands like sumsung.com or qoogle.com,” Yeo said.

Dito Telecommunity chief administrative officer Adel Tamano recently said they were considering launching an application-based portal for the registration. Meanwhile, a Dito website would be up and running by Dec. 27.

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Globe and Smart said they would soon provide more information about their platforms and procedures.



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