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Pakistan to Locally Manufacture Sim Cards to Tackle Cyber Attacks

ISLAMABAD, January 20, 2023- Pakistan intends to manufacture sim cards locally to protect the country from cyber-attacks. 

Pakistan plans to manufacture SIM and smart cards locally to prevent cyberattacks, create jobs, and save foreign cash. Local physical SIM makers can set up eSIM management platforms and sell eSIM goods to CMOs via “Platform as a Service.” 

In the age of digital services, SIMs and smart cards are crucial to Pakistan’s digital transformation and ecosystem construction goals. Since millions of SIMs are imported, local manufacturing will boost the economy. The documents state that the PTA supports telecom industry authorization, compliance, and SIM card production.

The government wants to make SIMs and smart cards after the mobile manufacturing strategy. The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom would welcome investors to make these cards. The IT ministry needs ECC clearance to proceed with the scheme. In brief, given to the economic decision-making body, the Ministry of Information Technology stated that digital transformation and the establishment of an enabling environment were one of Pakistan’s main goals, and SIMs and smart cards were crucial in the age of digital services.

Local chip and card manufacturing was pushed by the ministry for many reasons. A government committee manufactures SIMs and smart cards. The prime minister created a cross-stakeholder group to make recommendations. It will create jobs, tax income, and save foreign exchange. It will also give academia a new research and development perspective.

Manufacturers worldwide have developed new SIM types as embedded SIM (eSIM), soft SIM, and integrated SIM (iSIM), as SIM technology advances. These SIM card alternatives work. Thus, local physical SIM producers might build eSIM management solutions and sell them to CMOS.

Local SIM cards and smart card manufacturers can assist Pakistan in defending against cyberattacks by improving supply chain control and lowering vulnerability from imported devices. Supporting indigenous manufacturing can create jobs and save foreign cash by lowering the need to import these products.

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The committee met with stakeholders like the Engineering Development Board (EDB), cellular mobile operators (CMOS), law enforcement agencies, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR). The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom gave the Prime Minister’s Office a full report.

The Prime Minister’s Office received a report with strategic recommendations. Imran Khan ordered the ECC to consider these suggestions. Thus, stakeholders reviewed the draft summary.

The Ministry of Commerce, Finance, Interior, Industries and Production, and telecom regulator responded. FBR and SBP comments supported the policy. Stakeholders backed Pakistan’s SIM and smart card manufacturing. IT Ministry Secretary Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui told The Express Tribune that the committee recommended local SIM and smart card manufacture. The committee advised lowering SIM manufacturing material taxes in Pakistan. He added several investors were ready to start manufacturing SIMs in Pakistan, which would assure security and create jobs.

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