As has long been expected, a law has been passed in the Philippines making SIM card registration compulsory.
Described as a key step towards fighting text scams, bank fraud and misinformation, the law will require users to furnish full names and identity documents before buying a SIM card. This will also apply to existing prepaid users, who will be compelled to register.
The country’s President Ferdinand Marcos Jr has been quoted as describing the law as a long overdue measure.
As Reuters points out, Marcos' predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte, vetoed the legislation because of a provision requiring social media users to register their identities and phone numbers. This provision has been deleted.
It seems the country’s operators approve of the measure. As we reported in June, PLDT’s mobile arm Smart Communications threw its weight behind the attempt to revitalise SIM registrations in the Philippines, saying it would bring its expertise to bear on ensuring consumer protection if the law passed.
Following the passing of the law PLDT has said preparations are underway to comply with the new registration requirements. Rival operators Globe Telecom and DITO Telecommunity have called for a wider rollout of the national identification system to help verify users.
Operators have apparently blocked more than one billion spam and suspicious text messages this year in a country with one of Asia's highest smartphone penetration rates – over 60%.
It doesn’t seem as though a deadline has yet been imposed for existing SIM card owners to register, though a number of other countries, notably in sub-Saharan Africa, have found comprehensive registration tricky.