SIM CARD REGISTRATION. A telecommunication company employee assists a woman to register SIM card in this undated photo. The Department of Information and Communications Technology on Thursday (Dec. 29, 2022) reported that it has received nearly 500 complaints related to the SIM card registration. (File photo)

MANILA – The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) on Thursday reported that it has received nearly 500 complaints related to the SIM card registration.

In a Laging Handa public briefing, DICT spokesperson and Undersecretary Anna Mae Lamentillo said the 24/7 SIM registration complaint center, which is handled by the agency's Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center, received a total of 481 complaints so far.

Of this number, 195 complaints are from Smart, 121 from Globe, 83 from Talk and Text, 41 from DITO, 20 from TM, 14 from Sun Cellular and seven from Gomo.

"Iyong iba po medyo nahihirapan po sila – mga senior citizen na medyo nahihirapan po doon sa ating process of registration. We’ve asked someone to assist them; mayroon din naman po na nahihirapan makapasok doon sa sistema (Some of them, particularly senior citizens, had a hard time in the registration process. We've asked someone to assist them. There were others who had trouble getting into the system)," Lamentillo said.

She said the first 15 days of the SIM registration are considered as a test period, wherein some glitches or technical issues are expected as the public telecommunications entities (PTEs) fine- tune their respective processes.

"Sa mga glitches at technical difficulties na naranasan ng mga nag-register, kasama po ito sa tinatawag nating birth pains dahil bago po ang proseso. Kaya nga po ang first 15 days, in-announce namin noong Dec. 26 bago pa po magsimula iyong actual na process ng SIM registration ay kino-consider po na test period kung saan valid ang lahat ng registration ngunit mayroong mga possible technical difficulties – at nito naman po ay tutugunan ng ating mga telco. Pagkatapos po ng 15-day test period ay maaasahan po natin na mas maayos na ang proseso (The glitches and technical difficulties that the mobile subscribers are experiencing during registration are part of the so-called birth pains since the process is just new. That's why the first 15 days, as announced in Dec. 26 before the actual process of SIM registration, are considered as a test period and all registrations will be valid but there are possible technical difficulties--which will be addressed by our telcos. After the 15-day test period, we are expecting a smoother process)," she said.

The 24/7 complaint center is a support system for the SIM registration that will provide a platform where SIM subscribers can report their concerns or provide suggestions on how the process can be improved.

Concerns related to the SIM registration can be directed to them through hotline 1326.

During the same briefing, National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) Deputy Commissioner Jon Paulo Salvahan said the first two days of the mandatory SIM card registration saw over 3 million successfully registered across all three telecommunications firms.

Of this number, DITO reported over 530,424 registered subscribers, Smart with 1,019,207 and Globe with 1,913,266.

Salvahan said the agency is closely monitoring the rollout of the SIM card registration, which began on Dec. 27, through a task force that will coordinate and report concerns of the telcos and subscribers, among others.

The telcos are required to submit a daily report to the NTC for seven days from the start of the rollout, Salvahan said.

Subscribers have 180 days to register their SIM cards.

Salvahan is optimistic that the target 160-180 million active SIM cards will be registered within the prescribed period.

"Based on initial data, when we combine the numbers that is already 3.1 or 3.2 million subscribers as of the second day. Based on the rate of the registration, which will improve in the later days, magiging sapat ang 180 days (the 180 days are enough). Kung sakaling 'di aabot, nasa provision ng batas na pwede palawigin for another 120 more days (If not met, under the law it can be extended for 120 more days)," he said.

Several glitches had been observed on the first day of registration, including "slowdown" or "shutdown" of the system as reported by the telecom firms due to the heavy volume of registration traffic. (PNA)