Sim Registration case filed

A case over the Sim card registration has been filed against telecommunication regulator, National Information & Communications Technology Authority (NICTA) in the Waigani National Court.

A young lawyer who claims to represent the majority of people in the rural areas, filed the case last December, seeking to have the court order the entire registration process to be made flexible.

The case went before court last week but could not be heard because court documents were not served to NICTA, its CEO and the State.

Baundo Francis, informed the court today that service of the documents was done yesterday on NICTA CEO, Charles Punaha.

NICTA was not represented in court today because its lawyer is yet to obtain a 2018 practicing certificate.

The matter was adjourned to January 17 for further directions.

Outside the court room, Francis said he filed the case against NICTA seeking orders of the court to have the entire registration process relaxed, made flexible, optional or voluntary.

He said people’s freedom of choice has to be respected and taken into consideration, saying SIM card registration and deactivation should be a democratic decision.

Francis is raising this before the courts, because there are thousands of subscribers living in rural and remote areas where access to registration booths is a complication.

Meantime, in a statement released recently Digicel PNG CFO, Ketan Mehta said, “Digicel has extended its reach to Rural Customers, by training staff to carry out SIM registrations in their respective Villages with their wantoks.

However, it is understood that when announcing the sim card registration deadline, Acting Prime Minister Charles Abel said he and Communications Minister, Sam Basil, have considered the issues surrounding the SIM Card Registration Regulation, and are fully aware of the implications of registration deadline.

Abel said the extension to January 23 2018 will minimize the potential for disruptions to phone users while ensuring network security is enhanced.

Sally Pokiton