Almost 101 million prepaid SIM cards were blocked by the Indonesian government during March as a result of users neglecting to re-register their prepaid numbers using a valid form of identity.
At the end of the month, market leader Telkomsel had blocked a total of 43.3 million SIMs, while 3 Indonesia blocked the second highest amount of 26.7 million. During the same period, 305 million SIM cards were re-registered.
The block results from an October 2017 order by the Ministry of Communication and Informatics (known as Kominfo) stipulating that all SIM cards must be re-registered as part of a drive to increase the accuracy of operators’ databases, as well as crack down on the misuse of SIM cards.
The issue of users purchasing SIM cards under false names and without valid identities has been rife in Indonesia for at least the last ten years. Officially, the country has a limit of three SIM cards per person; consumers often get around this by acquiring new SIMs under false identities to avail themselves of discounts or promotions.
While the government acknowledges that this is a relatively innocent offence, it noted that since there is no clear data on multiple SIM usage, the door is open for criminal activity.