Following orders from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), mobile phone providers have started charging up to Rs. 200 for SIM disowning. This charge is effective as of right now.
The PTA has decided against extending the grace time that was previously offered for the return or disownment of superfluous SIM cards.
The PTA decided to implement the SIM disowning cost to fight the misuse of free SIM cards and mobile services’ involvement in illegal activities. This charge would be imposed in all Pakistani provinces, including Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Kashmir.
Before, on December 31, 2023, the PTA had asked customers to return or voluntarily reject any superfluous SIM cards without being charged.
The PTA makes it clear that SIM cards having a retention period of less than six months are subject to the disowning cost. Customers may, however, be qualified for a one-time waiver if an unauthorized SIM card is issued in their name.
The PTA received claims that certain users were abusing the free disowning function, which led to the decision to impose this cost. It is alleged that they were providing SIM cards to unidentified individuals for use in illicit operations, then denying ownership of the cards after they were discovered and getting fresh SIM cards from different providers.
The PTA’s action aims to find a balance between giving consumers a fair chance to return unwanted SIM cards and protecting against this feature being taken advantage of for illegal uses.