By CNN Philippines Staff, April 25, 2023; CNN Philippines

The announcement followed Marcos’ sector meeting with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and other government officials.

“Failure to register within the given period of extension will result in limited SIM services from the telecommunication companies,” a statement from the Palace said

In a media briefing later in the day, DICT Sec. Ivan John Uy said the agency is meeting with telecommunication firms about gradually suspending some SIM services, including access to linked social media accounts, during the extra 90-day period.

Uy said the proposal was prompted by consumers’ “bad habit” of deferring compliance to the last minute, as the DICT observed an increase in the number of registrants near the end of the original April 26 deadline.

The DICT said there are now over 82 million registered users, comprising 49.31% of the total customers of major telco players DITO, Globe, and Smart.

Uy expressed hope that around 15 to 18 million more active SIMs will be registered during the extension.

90 days more than enough

Under the law, the DICT can extend SIM registration for up to 120 days, but Uy said 90 days are “more than reasonable” and would allow “enough time” for SIM users to register.

“With that 90 days, we believe that we already give a lot of time to the public in order to fulfill the requirements of the law on the SIM card registration,” he stressed.

According to Uy, the government will concentrate on assisting SIM users in far-flung areas during the extended period to ramp up registration.

With regards to the required government-issued identification cards, Uy explained that consumers can also use those issued by their barangays to register their SIM.

The DICT chief reminded the public that this would be their last chance to comply with the law, and failure to register their numbers after 90 days would result in the deactivation of SIM services.

Incentives for registrants

The DICT is also discussing with telcos the possibility of providing incentives to their subscribers for registering their SIM.

“We are exploring some options that will be available to us in order to incentivize our public to register,” Uy said.

Globe Telecom, for example, is offering one gigabyte (GB) of mobile broadband to Globe and TM customers who are also GCash users after they properly register their SIM cards through their mobile wallet app.

“Globe and TM customers who are GCash users will receive a prompt to register their SIMs and they just need to follow the instructions. Once successful they will get free 1GB of data which they can use right away,” Globe Telecom said.

The registration was set to end on Wednesday, April 26, but mobile operators said extending the deadline would address the low numbers.