Using SIM on non-PTA approved smartphone in Pakistan: The how to you need

How to use SIM in any non-PTA approved phone

ISLAMABAD: Smartphones have witnessed a significant increase in pricing within Pakistan due to a confluence of factors, including stringent import regulations, substantial taxation, and the costly Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) approval fees.

Consequently, obtaining PTA-approved smartphones, particularly premium models like the Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S flagship series, has become a formidable financial challenge for many Pakistanis.

This predicament has, in turn, compelled consumers to opt for non-PTA approved mobile phones, which offer a relatively more budget-friendly alternative. However, users who choose this route face the inconvenience of their SIM cards not functioning on non-PTA approved devices.

Notably, a few years ago, PTA approval for mobile phones was not a requisite, and Pakistanis could acquire any phone without encountering any bureaucratic hurdles. Presently, the situation has transformed drastically, and PTA approval has become compulsory.

Once a phone enters Pakistan or a SIM card is initially inserted into it, it can use any SIM for a duration of up to four months. After this period, PTA deactivates the mobile device. Interestingly, mobile retailers have also become somewhat reticent about investing additional resources in acquiring PTA approval. Many now leave this decision to the customers, allowing them to decide whether they are willing to bear the high costs associated with PTA approval or opt to use their devices without it.

Despite the limitations, non-PTA compliant phones continue to be in high demand, flooding both physical mobile stores and online platforms in Pakistan.

In response to the two-month SIM deactivation period on unapproved phones, some individuals resort to using a separate phone to maintain the active status of their SIM card. It’s worth noting that non-PTA phones can still run a SIM card, provided users opt for a SIM from a mobile network known as SCOM.

SCOM, which originally introduced GSM mobile services in Azad Jammu Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan in 2004, boasts extensive network coverage across more than 450 major cities, towns, and villages in these regions. While it is widely accessible in these areas, residents of other parts of Punjab may encounter difficulties in obtaining an SCOM SIM. Nevertheless, there are numerous online avenues for purchasing SCOM connections, and the official SCOM website offers the option to order a SIM online.

Due to the escalating costs of PTA-approved phones, individuals often opt for non-PTA devices, including iPhones and flagship models from manufacturers like Samsung, OnePlus, Sony, and Xiaomi.

It is essential to bear in mind that although non-PTA phones may initially appear more budget-friendly, the subsequent addition of PTA approval charges can offset the cost advantage. Consequently, it is highly advisable for individuals to fulfill their tax obligations and officially acquire PTA approval for their phones, as these alternative measures represent temporary solutions to a complex problem.

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