Dubai: There is still a loophole for SIM-card misuse even after the ‘My Number, My Identity’ campaign and an industry expert said the whole process may need to be repeated over a period of time.
The ‘My Number, My Identity’ campaign by the UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) ends on January 16.
“Everything has loopholes and this is one loophole but it is not going to be on a large scale,” Bhanu Chaddha, senior telecom analyst at research firm International Data Corporation, told Gulf News.
One loophole is what happens when one person’s SIM card is given to a friend when he leaves the country?
Neither TRA nor telco operators had responded to Gulf News queries at the time of going to press.
Chaddha said this is very difficult to monitor because the number is generally registered in the person’s name and document. For example, visitors entering the country will only get a visitor line and it has a certain validity.
“This is something the regulator has to look at in a bid to monitor this as there is no such bracket. It is a challenge for the regulator and I am not sure how they are going to address this issue. Right now, there is no way to monitor it,” Chaddha said.
Linking the SIM to the visa could be one way to do it, but the pre-paid SIM is very difficult, he said.
The only way for the regulator “will be to refresh the whole process” over a period of time.
“The number of mobile subscriptions in the UAE has continued to increase in recent quarters, so it seems that the SIM registration scheme has not derailed the growth of the mobile market,” Matthew Reed, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media, told Gulf News.
Active mobile subscribers in the UAE stood at 15.2 million as of the third quarter last year. Du has a 47 per cent market share of the market while etisalat has 53 per cent.
According to TRA statistics, smartphone penetration rate has reached 73.8 per cent and feature phones 181 per cent.