Bring SIM registration to the people

TO THE QUICK - Jerry Tundag - The Freeman

It is perhaps one of the saddest realities of our times that sometimes, when people cannot find the time to go to church and hear Mass, they have the Mass said for them in their homes, offices, or some other place of their convenience. With such contemporary arrangements gaining acceptance, similar arrangements to bring certain responsibilities to the people should not prove very difficult to do.

Take the new law requiring the registration of all SIM cards. Such a requirement, though rather simple and easy to comply with, is still quite a hassle to some people. Change, after all, often induces resistance and allergic reactions. With the deadline for registration (April) looming fast and compliance still hovering at just about the halfway mark of the target population, telcos need to take matters into their own hands.

With the law demanding automatic deactivation of unregistered SIMs by deadline, telcos face huge losses even in just the few days it may take the deactivated subscribers to realize their folly and start buying new SIMs. And even then, the deluge of buyers, who will now need to register at the point of purchase, will create a bottleneck that can prove not only economically costly but likely to cause a PR nightmare as well.

And so, seemingly hewing to the bring-the-church-to-the-people principle, Globe (which happens to be my provider) decided to be proactive. Partnering with the supermarket chain Puregold, Globe brought the SIM registration to the people by putting up counters in more than 30 Puregold stores nationwide. Other telcos might do likewise given there are so many similar people-heavy establishments in the country.

My SIM registration at the Globe counter in Puregold Carigara was a breeze. It did not take more than five minutes, with all that I was made to do was affix my signature to a piece of paper and pose to have my photo taken, alone, and then with one of the two Globe ladies who both proved to be very courteous and very helpful, in addition to being young and attractive. Globe obviously knows how to do a good job.

The posting of counters in places of convenience to do assisted registration of SIM cards is a big help, especially to senior citizens like me, many of whom are not tech-savvy and would therefore balk at registering online. But senior or not, needing assistance or not, just bringing the registration to the people already provides a big compelling push toward SIM registration.

For left to their own devices and initiatives, people would almost always tend to wait for the last minute before making a dash for it. And as always happens, there will be a crush, lots of inconvenience, frayed nerves, and everything else that is simply counter-productive, at a time that we cannot afford to do so, especially in doing something from which there is no escape.

Globe did it with Puregold for three days up to last January 29. Considering the success of the endeavor, I would not be surprised if it extends its partnership with Puregold and even widen it with similar partnerships with other establishments. Other telcos should do the same thing, if they have not done so already. After all, doing so will ultimately be for their own interests.

And since we are on the subject of complying with the law, let this be a lesson to all those who have opposed the requirement to register all SIM cards. If you have anything against a measure, raise hell while it is still being cobbled. Write your congressmen and senators, bombard them on social media, picket their homes and offices. Raising hell only after it becomes law is not just futile; you can land in big trouble violating it.

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