Economy, Sci & Tech

Regulator Refocuses on SIM Card Use

Regulator Refocuses on SIM Card UseRegulator Refocuses on SIM Card Use

The Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA) has launched an updated website to check ownership of cellular SIM cards as part of a transparency drive to stop mobile phone dealers holding too many numbers.

The CRA is the Iranian telecommunications industry ombudsman which monitors the activities of all cellular related matters, including operations by the four major mobile networks, as well as overseeing development of the new mobile virtual network operators, according to CITNA.

The website and additional SMS-based service, enables users of cell phones to check how many SIM cards are registered in their name. Cell phone owners can check their ownership details through the CRA’s sub-domain, or via a dedicated SMS number listed on the site.

Hossein Fallah Joshaghani, a deputy at the Telecoms Ministry, said the new service aims to end misuse of SIM card ownership and prevent misuse of owners’ ID by third parties.

The news follows a previous report in the Financial Tribune that 2 million unidentified SIMs were blocked from making outgoing calls and texts in January. The owners of those SIMs had until January 19 to contact the operators and register their identity.

Details that the CRA demands include the national ID number of owners and residential address. “Measures taken for sorting unidentified SIM cards have proven effective,” CITNA quoted the deputy minister as saying. He did not elaborate.

A plan to regulate SIM cards was launched two years ago. In the first stage those who owned more than 10 SIM cards were identified. The measure was taken to sell idle numbers and reduce prank calls. The last phase of the plan is now underway.

When the plan was first launched there were 30 million unidentified SIM cards. Now it is less than 4.5 million.

There are three major mobile phone operators in Iran: Hamrah-e-Avval or MCI, Irancell, and RighTel.  Active cell phone users have a penetration rate of 98.72%. Taliya has less than 1.28% of subscribers.

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