‘Underground business’: DICT 7 exec warns against illegal sale of registered SIM cards on Facebook, other online marketplaces

SELLING registered subscriber identity module (SIM) cards on online marketplaces in Facebook and other platforms in the internet has reportedly become an “underground business.”

This information was reported to Frederick Amores, director of the Department of Information and Communications Technology in Central Visayas (DICT 7).

“We heard reports that some people chose to purchase SIM cards that were already registered. In fact, I have heard stories that it has turned into an underground business,” Amores said on Wednesday, May 17, 2023.

Despite not receiving any complaints, the DICT 7 has launched an investigation into the matter.

Amores said buying and selling already registered SIM cards is illegal and violates Republic Act (RA) 11934, also known as the SIM Registration Act, which mandates SIM registration prior to activation.

He further said that owners of these registered SIM cards could be involved in unlawful activities.

Under RA 11934, providing false information or using fraudulent identities to register a SIM can result in a prison sentence of six months to two years or a fine of at least P300,000, or both. The sale of a registered SIM card is also prohibited by the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 11934, carrying a penalty of six months to six years in prison or a fine of P100,000 to P300,000, or both.

Telcos’ advisories

The sale of registered SIM cards on Facebook and other online platforms has prompted a response from telecommunications companies.

Smart, when asked for a comment, released a public advisory urging the public to obtain SIM cards from authorized dealers.

The company said a new SIM from either Smart or TNT, the other network it owns, is activated only after the owner registers it.

“We encourage the public to purchase new SIMs at authorized distribution channels or retailers, and to avoid buying or accepting offers of new SIMs that are said to be pre-registered and activated,” read a portion of Smart’s advisory on Thursday, May 18.

An official at Globe Telecom on Friday, May 19 advised its subscribers not to buy SIMs from unknown online sources.

“Do not let other people outside of your family register SIMs on your behalf,” said Rofil Sheldon Magto, regional communications senior manager of Globe Group.

“Remember, online security is everyone’s responsibility. Let us do our share and work together to maintain a seamless and safe online experience,” he added.

Magto assured subscribers that Globe Telecom is committed to protecting them.

The National Government has approved a 90-day extension for SIM registration, moving the original deadline of April 26 to July 25 of this year.

As of Friday, May 19, Globe Telecom had registered 44.3 million SIM cards, accounting for 51 percent of its total 86.7 million customers, while Smart had registered 45.5 million SIM cards, representing 66 percent of its 66.3 million users.