As many as 16 million of the 17 million pre-activated SIM cards that were recalled nation-wide have been locked by service providers on January 15.
This was revealed at a meeting organised by the Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) in Hà Nội on Thursday to review the confiscation of pre-activated SIM cars.
Last November, the ministry had ordered mobile network providers to recall pre-activated SIM cards in a bid to reduce spam text messages and improve security.
The recall of pre-activated SIM cards in the city has seen positive results, representatives of Hà Nội’s Department of Information and Communications said at the meeting. It has reduced the sale of pre-activated SIM cards dramatically, and it has changed people’s habit of purchasing a pre-activated SIM card and abandoning it after a short period.
“This is the first time that 16 million SIM cards have been retrieved. It means that 16 million subscribers have been returned to the country’s digital reserves for reuse,” said Trương Minh Tuấn, Minister of Information and Communications.
Tuấn credited the success of the drive to the co-operation between telecom companies and SIM card stores, and people’s awareness on the need to follow the law on SIM card registrations.
Creating an archive of SIM card users nationwide is necessary to secure national security and social order, the minister said. It will help reduce spam text messages that have become a huge annoyance to mobile users as well as guard consumer interests.
Five mobile network providers - Viettel, VNPT (VinaPhone), MobiFone, Gtel Mobile and Vietnammobile - had signed a commitment to recall pre-activated SIM cards from November 1.
To end the sale and use of unregistered SIM cards, the ministry is drafting an amendment to Article 15 of Government Decree No 25 that was issued in 2011.
The amendment will increase the fine imposed on network providers, distribution agencies and customers who violate regulations on registering, storing and using mobile phone subsribers’ information.
The general directors and directors of mobile and telecommunication enterprises will have to pay a fine of VNĐ180-200 million (US$8,100 to 9,000) if their companies are caught violating contract procedures, general trading conditions, and rules on registering and storing mobile accounts’ information, the ministry said.