Deadline TODAY: What If You Didn't Register Your Phone?
Tomorrow March 15th is the deadline for registering your cellular phone. If you don't - as the public notice says - you face disconnection.
Now that's nothing to play with - for most people, your cell phone is your lifeline. So we wondered, have the crowds been rushing the phone companies as the deadline appears in 24 hours? And how many phones have not been registered? And what will really happen if you don't register your phone by the end of business tomorrow?
We're sure you have the same questions so we went to SMART and BTL today looking for answers.
BTL says about 90 thousand of its customers have registered, but there are still more than a hundred thousand somewhere in the electronic ether:
Anjali Vasquez - Public Relations Manager, BTL
"We've been having a lot of people come into the office over the last couple of months. Almost 90,000 people have actually registered to date, and we're expecting another 100,000 within the next month."
"Can you tell us, what specifically has been the peak? I know that some people are still holding off until very much the end. Can you give us an overview of how it's been like?"
"Well, Usually, what we've been doing is when we see that the traffic has kind of lessened, we would then send out an advertisement saying, 'Come in and register,' to encourage and remind people about the benefits of registering their number. Like we keep saying, registering the number means that the number belongs to you, so if anything happens to the credit on that number, or the number itself, we have in your name that we can do something about it."
"I know that there is a bit of confusion between Speednet's registration deadline, and BTL's registration deadline. Can you speak to us on that?"
"Well, what we've been doing is when the first release went out - I think that it was at the end of September - the effective date for registration was in October, and we were given 6 months from that date to register clientele. And based on that 6 months, we're using April 12 as our date."
"I know that there are some people who are very much skeptical of this registration, and they tend to feel that, 'Oh well, they won't really turn off our phone. They can't do that to us; we own the phones.' How do you respond to those customers?"
"Well, what we've been telling customers is that we are following Government's orders when we request that you come in and register your phone. There are two sides to this. Yes of course, we have the Government asking us to comply in registering our customers' numbers. Every number needs to have an owner. But also, being that previously to this, prepaid customers were completely anonymous in our systems, now, they have a face."
And while that's the story at BTL, there were lines at SMART -where a company representative says about 70% of its customers have complied.
Just like Telemedia, they don't want to disconnect anyone's phone - but if the government demands it, they must. Here's their side of the story.
Ian Courtenay - Public Relations Manager, Speednet
"Well, the deadline that the ministry had given us was March 15, so we have advertised and notified our customers that this is the deadline that we're working with, and so customers have been coming in. Of course, as your viewers will be able to see, our showroom is full today. People are trying to get their phones registered before the deadline that we were given."
"How frequent do you guys see customers coming in, and on what sort of basis?"
"It has been a constant stream in all our showrooms. This last week, it has picked up where have these lines that have been in existence all day. We're processing our applicants as fast as we can to minimize on their wait that they have, but I guess the deadline is here, and so, people are now - after election and all the other excitement - people are taking care of their business."
"I know that you guys have advertised that the specific action that you guys will take against customers who are unregistered is disconnection. Are you guys firm on that? Will that specifically be the first reaction?"
"Well, that is not the reaction - or the action - that we want to take. The instruction that we got from the ministry states that we will be required to disconnect customers who have not registered. So, we will wait until we get the instruction that we must do that. And once we do that, we will have to comply."
"Can you give us some sort of estimate - a ballpark figure of the customers who have already registered?"
"It changes, and with the rush now, we have a large percent. I would go as far as saying that over 70% of our customer base has already registered. I don't know - I haven't looked at the figures for this week, what has happened, but I know that all our showrooms are busy like this."
Strictly speaking, you have until 5:00 pm tomorrow to register your phone. After that, we'll see how it goes...