KARACHI - In sharp contrast to PTA policy, the cost of mobile phone SIMs is expected to increase from Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 per connection, The Nation learnt on Tuesday. Meanwhile, it has been observed that most of the outlets of GSM Service providers have halted the sale of new SIM cards for unidentified period on account of profiteering of high margins. According to reliable sources, franchises of two major mobile cos have blocked the trade of new SIMs as the new PTA policy has already put brakes on sales of fresh SIM cards. It is being anticipated that the telecom business would face tough time in future due to the sharp decline in sales. On the other hand, outlets of a cellular service provider went on strike due to the poor sales condition. When approached, a person associated with the industry revealed that the dealing of new SIMs has slumped sharply due to the new policy of PTA. Furthermore, dealers were asking different prices of SIMs from the averse customers. Mobile SIM retailers were selling the SIMs with different price tags, ranging between Rs 150 to Rs 500 in accordance with the series of company's code numbers. However, cellular service providers did not mention such variations on prices of SIM cards. Meanwhile, the new system of SIMs activation after verification of the subscriber's particulars by NADRA has been made functional from February 1, 2009. According to sources, the system has successfully been launched. PTA teams had enquired from consumers regarding availability of non-activated SIMs and response of Call Centres established by mobile companies for activation of new SIMs. Various customer service centres, franchises and registered retailers were visited in this regard. Earlier, pre-activated SIMs were sold in the market that could be used instantly after their purchase. Whereas, in the new system, a non-activated SIM is being sold to the consumer after checking his original CNIC and filling of Cellular Service Agreement (CSA) form. The consumer then call 789 from the same SIM and Call Centre asks few questions to verify the data provided by the consumer. After the online verification of the consumer's antecedents from NADRA, SIM is activated in the name of verified customer. In case of incorrect answers consumer has asked to contact Customer Services Centre of the concerned mobile operator or NADRA Swift Centre. After this system was implemented, it was expected that usage of unnamed SIMs for anti-social activities would be reduced and ultimately eliminated. On the other hand, recent cellular subscribers' data has clearly indicated that addition has peaked. Industry subscribers posted marginal growth of 2.1 percent during 1HFY09 compared to 21.7 percent during 1HFY08. Furthermore, monthly addition has reduced significantly to 310 thousand per month during 1HFY09, compared to 2.3 million in the same period last year.