The Ministry of Post and Telecommunication has given mobile phone operators a final warning on the sale of unregistered sim cards.

As of May 31, Cambodia recorded over 19 million registered sim cards. However, the Council of Ministers had discovered that a single identity could be attached to hundreds of cards, prompting the Cabinet to call for action against the practice.

Telecoms ministry spokesman So Visothy said on August 30 that mobile operators have six months to stamp out irregular sim card sales.

“This six-month period will expire at the end of January next year. If irregularities are discovered after that time, legal action will be taken,” Visothy confirmed to The Post.

A phone shop owner in Phnom Penh who asked not to be named told The Post that his shop is still supplied with sim cards from sale agents and brokers and they did not required buyers to provide identification. He said his shop still sold the unregistered cards as there is a high demand for them. Few customers want official registered sim cards, he noted.

“We receive Metfone sim cards directly from the company, while the cards of other service providers are obtained through sales agents. Often, a customer will insist on buying an unregistered sim card – often many at once. This means they can use the card and then throw it away,” he said.

The shop owner said he welcomed the ministry’s moratorium.

“I applaud the ministry – as long as they make sure it applies to all providers and all shops. At my place, the agents come with hundreds of sim cards and provide one identity to use when we sell to a client. They told us that we don’t need to get the identity of buyers. I don’t know how they are able to do this,” he said.

None of the other mobile operators could be reached for comment on August 30. But a sales representative for Metfone was quoted by a Ministry of Information social media post as saying that his company was also calling customers to register their sim cards according to legal requirements. Customers could contact their sale agents to do so, or register through an app.

“The telecommunications ministry instructed all mobile phone operators to register the identity of users when they buy new sim cards – and they will need to update their identification details if they were not recorded originally,” he said.