MIC demands stronger punishments for ‘junk’ SIM cards

April 2, 2024 | 03:02 pm GMT+7

The Information and Communications Ministry has asked mobile phone carriers to either fully eliminate junk SIM cards or face strict punishments.

MIC demands stronger punishments for ‘junk’ SIM cards- Ảnh 1.

According to requests of the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC), after April 15, 2024, mobile telecoms businesses have to take full responsibility for the discovery of any ‘junk’ pre-activated SIM cards under their charge. These situations include SIM cards for sale with subscriber information already existing before activation, with unmatched subscriber information compared to the one saved in the National Population Database.

When such SIM cards are detected, their providers undergo punishments, the highest of which is a suspension of new subscriber development activities. MoIC will also issue a written reminder to those businesses and send a report to the Prime Minister for disciplining the business head.

Deputy Director Nguyen Phong Nha of the Telecoms Authority (under MIC) shared that the elimination of junk SIM cards should be done step by step, with corresponding legal corridor to support as well as new solutions that adopt advanced technologies.

In 2023, telecoms businesses have completed checking necessary information of 125 million mobile phone subscribers in the country to ensure these data match those stored in the National Population Database. However, in reality, there are still pre-activated or pre-input SIM cards for sale at telecoms service agencies where people can easily buy without a need to register their personal information as regulated. These SIM cards are normally used for scamming activities.

The HCMC Department of Information and Communications reported that fraudulent activities in cyber space have become more cunning, with new tricks appearing continuously to challenge functional agencies. Last year, this department carried out a comprehensive inspection in the whole city regarding the management, registration, and storage of mobile subscriber information of 5 major mobile carriers of MobiFone, Viettel, Vinaphone, Vietnamobile, and Gmobile sited here. 1,710 SIM cards were detected violating the law.

Each year, this department tries to cooperate with local authorities of all districts and Thu Duc City to run propaganda campaigns on legal regulations related to SIM card purchasing and mobile subscription registration. City dwellers are encouraged to report junk SIM cards to the hotline 156 or the website https://thongbaorac.ais.gov.vn , yet it is still hard to completely eliminate those harmful SIM cards.

In addition, when a report about a SIM card or social network account of foreign origin is received, it takes too long (of 15-20 days) to handle that since this report must go through various state management agencies.

To partially limit the spreading of junk SIM cards, mobile carriers nationwide have stopped selling mobile SIM cards at their regular agencies from September 10, 2023. Nevertheless, people seeking such SIM cards can still obtain them at authorized ones.

Experts in the field commented that if the problem of identification in cyberspace and distribution of junk SIM cards can be solved, cyber fraudulence will see a wane.

Director Lam Dinh Thang of the HCMC Department of Information and Communications said that his organization has already proposed to the municipal People’s Committee to ask for cooperation between MoIC and the Public Security Ministry to consider issuing a procedure for telecoms businesses and local state management units, central and local investigating police agencies to verify subscriber information.

Instructions should be given to telecoms network carriers in adding mobile subscriber information into the population database. The Telecoms Authority is proposed to provide the HCMC Information and Communications Department with an account to access and look up necessary information of mobile subscribers.