Ministry blocks 21 million pre-activated SIM cards

September 7, 2020 | 10:28 am GMT+7

Local telecom providers have blocked and retrieved 21 million pre-activated SIM cards in three months, according to the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC).


The MIC's Viet Nam Telecommunications Authority (VNTA) in June requested operators handle SIMs that are suspected of being pre-activated SIMs on their distribution channels to reduce spam text messages and improve security by ensuring only officially registered SIM cards are used.

Telecom firms were asked to connect their subscribers’ registration database to VNTA and build and apply criteria to prevent pre-activation on distribution channels with a high frequency.
Telecom businesses have also deployed artificial intelligence (AI) and photo matching tools to prevent the use of invalid documents and fake profile photos. In July, the total number of mobile phone subscribers nationwide decreased by 8 millions (6 per cent) over the same period last year (from 133.7 millions to 125.7 millions).
VNTA said that to prevent the selling of junk SIM cards again, telecom firms such as Viettel, VNPT and MobiFone have taken many measures to stop selling SIMs at authorised dealers as well as stop the right to connect subscriber numbers of authorised agents from the beginning of June. Instead, they have focused on selling SIM cards and registering subscriber information using their own telecommunications service transaction locations.
The VNTA plans to complete a legal corridor for the prevention of junk SIMs and promote technical measures in managing subscriber information. In particular, it is necessary to ask leaders of mobile telecommunications businesses to be responsible for junk SIMs. The ministry will report to the Prime Minister for handling, review and not licensing new services for providers violating the requirement.
It will continue to supervise and inspect the subscriber development from big agents of mobile telecom providers. At the same time, it will promote the standardisation of subscriber information from data sources with high accuracy such as insurance, health care and banking.
Pre-activated SIM cards used to be widely available for purchase without registration of details.