Despite a ban issued by the Ministry of Information and Communications on unregistered pre-paid SIM card trading from June 1, many traders have continued to stock the cards and sell them at even higher prices.
SIM card shops ignore the ban
Nguyen Thanh Tam, an owner of SIM shop in Vo Thi Sau Street in HCMC said that he had been trading in activated pre-paid SIM card without asking customers to register for many years and haven't received any fines or reprimands. His shop sells several thousand of SIMs each month, mostly for students.
"As they cost just less than 100,000VND people can buy a SIM card worth double or triple that price. And they can throw it away when the account is empty. It's so convenient." Tam said. "As people can throw them away, they rarely ask about registering the service.”
Hoa, a shop owner in 3-2 Street said, "June 1 is near so we removed some banner ads but the business is still running like normal. There are many agents providing large amount of SIM cards for the retailers."
A big agent usually has around 7,000-8,000 SIMs, sometimes even 10,000. These retailers often buy up to a thousand SIMs a time, while small retailers can buy dozens to a hundred SIMs and they often sell out.
Facing the ban, both owners seemed indifferent. Hoa said most SIM traders ask relatives to register the pre-paid SIMs. Hoa even went to her cousin's pawnshop and took customer identification cards to register.
Another way that the shop owners use to register the SIM cards is to buy name and ID numbers from magnates. "Each ID costs VND15,000 (USD0.72) and they can be used to register three phone numbers. You can buy as many as you want." Tam said.
Tam also said that the unregistered SIM traders weren’t very concerned as it had been issued by the MIC not the telecom companies themselves.