Last month in Yangon, I said to a group of Parliamentarians that I hoped there would be no SIM riots in Myanmar similar to those that occurred when competition was introduced in Bangladesh and Pakistan. A riot is a crude response to a mismatch of supply and demand. Looks like the mismatch exists in Myanmar, but that the people are a lot more sophisticated. They have created a secondary market and are making money from the mismatch. Much better response to toppling tables and breaking glass.
The Orascom owned mobile operator in North Korea has issued its two millionth SIM. Naguib Sawiris, Executive Chairman of OTMT, commented saying: “When we first acquired the license in North Korea, people thought the service will only be provided to a few privileged individuals. We are very proud today to witness our subscriber base in North Korea increasing at a growing rate, emphasizing the right of the North Korean citizens in DPRK to communicate.” It is worth noting that through recent decisions of the North Korean government restrictions on availing internet connections through mobile phones for foreign visitors have been reduced, allowing Koryolink to also offer some data services through its network.
It is estimated that the world’s population went past the seven billion mark in 2011. Why do I use this cautious language? Sri Lanka just conducted a census and is looking for some half a million people that are short of the previous projections. So estimate we must. GSMA’s Mobile and Development Intelligence website estimates that the number of mobile SIMs went past the five billion mark, at end of 2011.
I thought the Pakistani man who thought he had 2 SIMs but found 57 had been issued in his name was a story. But India does better, according to NDTV. A man in Mumbai’s suburb Thane region was found with 80,000 Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards. The SIM cards were found at the residence of Anwar Ansari, in Bhiwandi area of Thane. According to reports, Mr Ansari used to run a racket that facilitated international calls.
Crimes are committed. They should be prevented. If not, criminals should be punished. Someone must be held to account if the government cannot catch the criminal. Why not the telecom operator whose phone the criminal used?
According to a Pakistan telecom website, one man found that while he had only 2 SIMs from Mobilink the database showed 57! There is more. With the successful on going SIM Information System 668 campaign, official sources at PTA have revealed that the cellular phone companies have blocked 12.9 million SIMs in two weeks of launch, reported Daily News. Data of around 0.
A story that extensively draws on LIRNEasia research by Voice and Data has coined a new and probably more appropriate term for MNP: not mobile number portability but multiple number possession. MNP seems to be another case of applying Western regulatory instruments without looking at the actual context and needs. In the interview, I said that I too had favored MNP in the old days, but that the results of the Teleuse @ BOP surveys, especially the qualitative studies shows we need to rethink. If we are implementing number portability (which could be useful for corporates and high-end customers) we need to ensure that the costs of portability are assigned to those who cause them and not the operator who is losing the customer. The simple fact that multiple SIM ownership has increased in Pakistan which was the first in the region to implement MNP should suggest something.