(MENAFN - Arab News) The new regulation by the Communication and Information Technology Commission (CITC) on SIM cards coming into force on July 31 has unnecessarily confused some customers of the three Saudi telecom companies.
Through a number of advertisements in newspapers the companies had repeated how easy and simple it was to get the SIM registered.
The new system requires consumers to enter their national identification or iqama number immediately following the prepaid card number to recharge SIM cards. The ID entered must match the ID provided to the service provider at the time of the original SIM card purchase. Otherwise the charging, recharging or transferring of balances will be prohibited.
"I was told that my account will be disconnected by Aug. 1 if I fail to register. I am not entirely sure what I am supposed to do right now," said expatriate Abe Jerico Alomed Sazon, who bought his SIM card from an old friend in Riyadh five years before he started working in Alkhobar.
Sazon is not the only one. Many people bought SIM cards through friends or acquaintances, and they are without means to track down the name of the person their cards were bought from.
"I certainly do not know in whose name my card is registered right now," said SIM card owner Abdul Majid.
Adeeb Al-Muhanna, a sales representative at Zain branch in Rashid Mall in Alkhobar, shakes his head at this wrong assumption. He tells his customers that all they need to bring to the branch office for a successful update is their SIM card and identity card in person.
He urges all customers with prepaid SIM cards to go to any of their branches and register their SIM cards along with the requested identification number before Aug. 1.
"The update is free of charge and our customers will not lose any minutes. If anything, they will gain more benefits by registering with us," said Al-Muhanna.
"We definitely had a surge of customers since the broadcast of the new regulation," said Mohammad Yusef, sales representative at the Mobily branch in Rashid Mall.
Yusef sees this update as a step in the right direction for companies as well as customers. "No one can sell you a SIM card for more than it's worth and it is a great way for us to monitor the SIM cards being used. Also, harassment cases will be easier to solve now that we have a name for every number," said Yusef.
The new update does not seem to be a problem for the telecom companies nor will it be a hassle for anyone with a prepaid SIM card if they follow the directions and update their account before it is too late. Even then the price for a new card is the same as the old one, around SR 25, and the money spent counts as minutes.