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Government Backs Down on Phone Deadline

Unregistered Prepaid Subscribers Will Encounter Limited Service Starting from May 1, 2006.

(4/29/2006) In the end, security concerns took a back seat to consumer pressure with the Government of Indonesia deciding to extend the April 28, 2006 deadline for registration of personal details from prepaid phone cards users.

Information and Communications Minster, Sofyan A. Djalil, who starred in a campaign of television commercials sternly warning of the impending "absolute" deadline for registration on April 28th, eventually backed down from imposing the final cut-off date. Just two days before that deadline, the Minister announced that an additional two months would be given for prepaid telephone subscribers to submit personal details with their telephone service providers.

Unregistered Subscribers Likely to Encounter Limited Service

According to Minister Djalil quoted in The Jakarta Post, "between May 1 and May 15, there will be what we call a soft deactivation stage, in which sending short messages and receiving incoming calls will still be possible but all outbound calls will be blocked." Following the period of "soft deactivation" unregistered telephone customers will continue to receive limited access until the new expiration date. On that date at the end of July, those still unregistered will have their telephones blocked and any remaining prepaid value will be forfeited.

The decision to extend the registration deadline was made by the government on the eve of the impending deadline when an estimated 70 percent of the nation's 44 million prepaid card users remained unregistered. Prepaid telephone card users are now required to submit ID numbers, names, date and place of birth, and their addresses to telephone service providers in a step designed to prevent the use of hand phones for criminal acts.