Nepal Telecom Authority (NTA) has revised the provision of reusing old SIM cards and instructed the Mobile service providers (MSP) to recycle unused SIM cards only after one year. The NTA board meeting held on Shrawan 26 decided to direct telcos redistribute SIM cards, (that have not been in use for six months) only after six months from the date of SIM freeze.
Now with the new instruction, mobile service providers will be able to issue a new SIM of the same number only after one year of deactivation. Earlier, the telcos have been canceling the SIM in 6 months. But now, it has been given an additional period of 6 months to minimize the security risk, which is called the ‘cooling period’ a.k.a Security period. So the SIM will deactivate after the six months of crossing the validity period but telcos can only reissue after 1 year of that period.
Why NTA increased the period of reissuing old SIM cards?
The NTA had earlier instructed the telecom companies to revoke the SIM cards after a period of six months. Accordingly, the SIM cards that have not been active for six months would be available for the companies to resell. Recently Nepal Telecom recycled 15 lakhs SIM card at once, with the old provision.
However, the authority has issued a new directive in the public interest since the banks are also concerned about the risks it brings in mobile banking. So, the bankers association made a request to NTA to reduce the security risk that arose after reissuing unused mobile numbers in just six months. As a result, the unused SIM cards will have a ‘security period’ of 6 months. If the telcos reassign the mobile number to another user, the previous user and bank can maintain security in that period.
Nowadays, mobile number has various purposes. The customer uses its mobile number in online banking, online payment, social media, and so on. So, there is a high chance of hacking accounts due to the redistribution of the old unused mobile numbers.
What can we do during this additional six months?
If your SIM card gets freeze after not using it for over six months, then you have to understand that the idle SIM card will be recycled. It means it will find a new owner in another six months. In that span of the latter six months, you can apply for a new SIM card with the same mobile number, which you will be using onwards. Telcos themselves need to devise a modality for how to avail that previously owned mobile number to the customer if he/she makes a valid request.
Let me remind you that you cannot issue more than two SIM cards of a single company, and the user of the SIM card needs to go to the outlet to apply for the SIM card. No other person can issue a SIM card for you unless you give him a proper authorizing letter. You also require your original citizenship while applying for the new SIM card.
What to do if you fail to get the old number and get a new SIM card instead?
If you fail to get the SIM card (for that particular number) in that additional six months period of deactivation, you will lose the mobile number permanently. Then, you need to own a new SIM card with a new mobile number. Some people may even choose to change the SIM card themselves for various reasons.
After owning a new SIM card, you need to make sure you update your KYC at the bank that is linked with your old SIM number. Updating KYC will help you avoid data breach and hacking into your bank account. Then you can change the mobile number in social media, online banking, online payment platform if any. By updating your old mobile number with your new mobile number on all online platforms, you will not have any problem even if your old SIM card gets redistributed.
Nomatter where you go, you need to update the mobile number if you lose or change the old number. This shall ensure the security of all of your accounts linked to that mobile number.
With the new decision and directive of the regulator, companies will now have a period of 6 more months to cancel the SIM card. The mobile companies will be able to sell the same old number only after six more months after the cancellation period.
This updated provision reduces the risk of unauthorized access that is probable with the reuse of the mobile number. Banker associations are also concerned with this provision. They may come up with other instructions in the future to tighten data security.
Tell us what do you think of the new provision for reissuing SIM cards based on old mobile numbers. If you are abroad and worry about losing your old mobile number, this should come as a relief at least for 1 year.
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