A subscriber registration system budgeted at Rs.225 million was recently launched by Mobitel in response to the directive issued by the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) instructing all telecom operators to register their subscribers for national security safety purposes. At a media briefing this week, Director General of the TRC Mr. Priyantha Kariyapperuma said subscriber registration was imperative in the interest of public safety and matters concerning national security.
He added that the TRC will issue a final deadline in the near future after which unregistered numbers will be disconnected.
Such regulations were designed to facilitate the industry and bring its system parallel to other countries which require all mobile and telephone connections which have processes in place to verify subscriber identification. Mr. Kariyapperuma further stated that President Mahinda Rajapaksa will shortly give orders to data and mobile operators to filter pornographic material. Mr. Kariyapperuma said the Internet has material harmful to children and the President wants additional regulations that will not restrict information and communication technology growth.
Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) Chairperson Leisha De Silva Chandrasena said she hopes people will be civil minded and that the registration system will not greatly inconvenience consumers. The process of registration takes place flawlessly at 65 Mobitel centres islandwide. "We will issue a printed ownership certificate which we call Mobitel Identification Certificate or MIC for short, in addition to the Mobitel Digital Certificate which can be easily invoked by the user."
SLT Mobitel CEO Suren J. Amarasekera said the task of comparing a photograph with a subscriber's physical appearance and then making a judgement on its validity could have exerted great pressure on the front liners. It was subsequently decided to include a digital photograph of every subscriber in the records irrespective of whether a subscriber's physical appearance matched with their NIC photograph. This is done free of charge at any of the Mobitel centres.
An advertising campaign will also be launched on the subscriber registration system using SLT Mobitel brand ambassadors Mahela Jayawardene and Muttiah Muralitharan. (NG)