THE EMBEDDED subscriber identity module or eSIM should be included in the proposed measure requiring the registration of SIM cards as a prerequisite to their sale, said a Senator. This is in order to prevent cybercriminals from stealing money and accessing bank details through mobile phones.

An eSIM is a digital SIM embedded directly into devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops to connect the user to any operator or network provider.

Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian, one of the co-authors of Senate Bill 2395 or the SIM Card Registration Act, said that its inclusion will help combat enhanced technologies and new methods being used to commit cybercrime.

“The upgrading of mobile devices is fast, and just as the instruments being used by scammers are modernizing, so is their creativity in enforcing their modus (operandi),” he said in a statement in Filipino.

“We have to keep up with the latest trends in technology and one of which is the emergence of eSIM, a digital SIM card that works the same way as a traditional or physical SIM card,” he added.

The current version of the bill only includes traditional SIM cards which require physical installment and removal from mobile phones.

The proposed measure aims to deter the proliferation of SIM card-aided crimes, said the senator, such as terrorism, text scams, unsolicited or obscene messages, bank fraud, and massive disinformation.

If approved, the bill will require existing SIM card subscribers with active services to register with their respective Public Telecommunications Entities (PTEs) within a year of the law’s enactment.

Failure to register within this period will authorize the PTEs to automatically deactivate or retire the SIM card number.

“Whether it’s physical or electronic, it should be registered,” said Mr. Gatchalian.

The House of Representatives passed its version of the bill in early December while its counterpart is pending on second reading in the Senate. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan