Sim Card Registration Has Officially Begun—Here’s How to Do It

As part of the government’s effort to curb scam messages, millions of Filipinos will soon be required to register their SIM cards by law.

Filipinos and their more than 156 million mobile connections must register their SIM cards—effective December 27, as it is the day that the SIM Card Registration Act, the first law signed by President Ferdinand Marco Jr., takes effect. 

With that being said, days away before the actual registration, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) released its implementing rules and regulations (IRR) to guide all mobile users and telecommunications companies on how to go about the implementation of the law. 

Here’s everything you need to know about the SIM Card registration process, as well as the potential effects and problems the new law may cause.

Registration and Requirements

According to the IRR released by the NTC, the registration process begins with the subscriber completing a registration form that the telecommunications company will provide. Aside from the user’s mobile number, the following personal data will be asked for:

For individual end-users:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Sex
  • Present or official address (as chosen by the user)

For juridical entity end-users:

  • Business name
  • Business address
  • Full name of authorized signatory

For foreign national end-users:

  • Full name
  • Nationality
  • Date of birth
  • Passport
  • Address in the Philippines
  • Type of travel or admission document presented (for persons of concern or POCs)

A valid government-issued ID that bears the user’s photo will also be required. Alternately, any of the following IDs will be accepted:

  • Passport
  • Philippine Identification System ID / Philippine Identification Card
  • Social Security Service ID
  • Government Service Insurance System e-Card
  • Driver’s License
  • National Bureau of Investigation clearance
  • Police clearance
  • Firearms License to Own and Possess ID
  • Professional Regulation Commission ID
  • Integrated Bar of the Philippines ID
  • Overseas Workers Welfare Administration ID
  • Bureau of Internal Revenue ID
  • Voter’s ID
  • Senior Citizen’s card
  • Unified Multi-Purpose Identification Card
  • Persons with Disabilities card
  • Other valid government-issued ID with photo

Juridical identity end-users are required to present their certificate of registration. In the case of corporations, they will need a duly adopted resolution that designates an authorized representative. Other juridical entities may present a special power of attorney. 

Mobile users have 180 days from the day of effectivity of the law to complete the registration of their SIM cards. This can be extended for another 120 days. Failure to do so will result in the deactivation of the SIM card. 

The Cost of Text Scams

Many see the SIM Card Registration Act as a way to combat fraud, particularly text scams. This may be a welcomed development, especially when the cost of text scams to the Filipino people is taken into consideration.

A previous report by the Philippine Star cites a revelation made by Mary Rose Magsaysay—Cybercrime Investigation and Coordination Center (CICC) deputy executive. “Text scams stole millions of dollars from Filipinos who fell victim to their modus operandi,” she says. 

The deputy executive also stated that these text scams are both local and international in nature, raising the possibility that foreigners may also be involved. 

However, it may come as a surprise that, according to a report by Philippine Inquirer dated September 8, only 800 complaints regarding text scams have been made to the NTC. 

The Effect on SMS Marketing

Although it cannot be denied that many of the messages from unknown numbers that people receive every day are from text scams, there are also messages from real brands and companies that do legitimate advertising and marketing. 

According to an AdSpark article from 2018, “SMS marketing has a 98% open rate and 45% response rate,” which are impressive numbers to take into account for those considering SMS marketing as part of their strategy. However, the flood of text scams may have already negatively affected these numbers. 

The need to register every active SIM card in the Philippines may make the jobs of marketers, especially those who engage in SMS marketing, more complicated due to the added requirement. 

However, if brands are able to find a way not only to comply with the law but also to make their SMS marketing efforts come across as legitimate at first glance, this can increase the chances of people actually reading their messages instead of automatically deleting them in fear of scams.