Muscat: There is no longer a high demand for special Sim cards. The reason? Well, many people prefer to buy Sim cards registered in the name of expatriates who have left the country, using them to harass others, either through phone calls or text messages.
These callers believe they cannot be identified since their Sim cards are registered in the names of others — expatriates who are no longer staying here in Oman!
In fact, some social networks in Oman sell these Sim cards for OMR10-20, often bundling some credit with the offer.
As a matter of fact, selling of such Sim cards has become a booming business for both Omanis and expatriates these days.
"We are selling the Sim cards of expatriates who are no longer here in the country," is commonly heard in both Seeb and Ruwi.
The cost of these Sim cards exceeds OMR10, and sometimes, one can get a buy-one-get-one-free offer for OMR14!
Naser Al Balushi, a national, told Times of Oman that his wife is annoyed by the endless calls and text messages she receives every day from unfamiliar phone numbers belonging to expatriates who left the country some years ago.
"We have lodged a complaint with the Public Prosecution but we have received no response so far because of the difficulty in identifying the caller."
Al Balushi is one of many citizens and residents who are extremely annoyed by these mischief makers, who even interfere with their ability to sleep peacefully after a hard days' work.
Jumanah, another national, said her husband was about to divorce her because of the endless calls she was receiving from these miscreants.
"If my husband divorces me, who will bring these offenders to justice? Many girls are suffering because of these offenders. They have even been beaten by their families," stated Jumanah. More than 33 cases of harassment through the use of such Sim cards were registered in the
Mustafa Al Kharousi, another national, remarked that stringent penalties must be issued by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) to stop these individuals from harassing others.
However, some citizens prefer to remain silent. After all, their efforts in lodging complaints with the concerned authorities go in vain, so they call this phenomenon "a hidden trade between expatriates and nationals".
Telecommunications companies working in the Sultanate can track down the Sim card holder but only after receiving an official letter from the Public Prosecution, Ahmed Al Hadrami, a telecommunications expert, told Times of Oman.
Al Hadrami further explained that the offending individuals sometimes bought unmarked second-hand mobile phones from expatriates, making it harder to track the users.
"These unidentified users mostly use these Sim cards at night and do not make calls to any of their relatives or friends to avoid being tracked," confirmed Al Hadrami.