Telcos OK pre-paid SIM registration but ask how

By Jenny Reyes, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 01 2011 07:39 PM | Updated as of Feb 02 2011 03:39 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Telecommunication firms are open to the proposal to require the registration of cellphone SIM cards, but they raised concerns on how this may be implemented.

At a public hearing of the Senate Committee on Public Services on Tuesday, Atty. Rodolfo Salalima, president of the Philippine Chamber of Telecom Operators, said about 95% of 75 to 80 million cellphone users are on prepaid.

A huge chunk of these prepaid subscribers do not have valid government identification, he noted.

He also said they have very minimal control over their re-sellers, which would make it hard for them to oversee the registration of SIM cards.

The Senate's move to have SIM cards registered stemmed from the recent bus bombing in Makati City that killed 5 people and injured 13 others. Authorities said the explosive device in the bus blast used an 81-millimeter mortar and a cell phone as detonator.

Aside from this, many scams are also committed using prepaid SIM cards.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, himself, shared an experience wherein a caller introduced himself as Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento and tried to solicit money for a golf tournament.