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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Crunch time for SIM registration

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A seller sorts out SIM cards; many stores sell them as they are, not pressing customers for SIM registration. Pha Lina

Crunch time for SIM registration

The deadline for illegal SIM users to register with their respective telco is only days away, but the warning seems to have fallen on deaf ears for some with the Telecommunications Regulator of Cambodia (TRC) estimating there are still more than 1 million numbers unregistered.

Im Vutha, spokesman for the national telecom regulator, said based on the latest reported figures from all operators, TRC estimates there are still 7 to 8 percent of people operating mobile phones in the Kingdom with an unregistered SIM.

This is despite what Vutha says has been an extensive campaign to get the information about the deadline across to all phone users.

“Both the TRC and operators have tried their best to inform to all users through all means and communication channels such as newspapers, TV, social media, broadcasting SMS, voice call, and various visibility campaigns by operators,” he said.

The TRC and General Commissariat of National Police have threatened the registration crackdown multiple times this year, but prior deadlines were delayed at the joint request of the telco operators.

“During the last meeting on 20 September 2016, operators indicated that they have developed apps and [other] means which facilitate the process of ID registration,” Vutha said.

“So it is the right time now for us to achieve our target.”

Under the TRC’s latest guideline on the issue, telco operators have been required since the beginning of October to inform its customers at least seven times in seven days about the need to register by asking the unregistered user to provide the ID document to the operators’ shop or dealer.

After November 1, unregistered phone users who have failed to heed the notice will have their phone numbers deactivated.

As the registration date draws closer, the major telcos, such as Smart Axiata and Cellcard, have in recent weeks been stepping up their awareness campaigns through digital media, increasing their presence on the ground as well as doing door-to-door registrations.

The message has also been disseminated via outbound calls and on radio, while some telcos are encouraging self-registration through the web.

The registration crackdown is being enforced in an attempt to curb criminal activity, such as drug trafficking and terrorism.

“If all numbers are registered, the criminal won’t be able to use telecom service to commit crime. Their identity will be easily identified by the authority,” Vutha said.

With only mere days until the SIM registration is enforced, there is still time to register. The five minute registration process requires valid identification such as a Cambodian citizen ID card or a government ID card for locals, or a passport for expats.

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