February 28, 2013 -
Today was the deadline for telecom operators in Pakistan to install biometric verification systems, though absent officials in the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has extended this period indefinitely.
Following the removal of PTA chairman Farooq Awan, and the retirement of a finance official, the process has been stalled, while the National Database Registration Authority (Nadra) and telecom companies are nearly ready for the system, The News reports.
Speaking to The News under the condition of anonymity, a telecom official said that a summary is under process with the consultation of all the five companies and PTA, which will be forwarded to the prime minister for extending the deadline for induction of the new biometric verification system.
Nadra and telecoms in the country carried out testing and integration successfully. Backend software, data collection and verification, as well as the establishment of recommended and open standard devices have also been confirmed.
Nadra has recommended some devices to the telecom operators on the basis of performance and security, though it has also been made clear that companies can choose to purchase their own device or backend software. Nadra’s recommended devices cost approximately $100.
Reported previously in BiometricUpdate.com, the biometric verification directive came from the Ministry of the Interior, which ordered the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to stop all cellular mobile operators from selling new SIMS and withhold the stock of SIMS from all sales channels. At the time, telecom operators said they were being forced to spend too much money, estimating the unit cost to be more than $930, not including maintenance.