Mobile phones, services and applications. PCs, PDAs, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Internet, gadgets, electronics, photography. A technology-life journal ... Relaxed prose, sometimes witty, sometimes funny, reflective and insightful. Short and sweet. Filipino.

Friday, April 16, 2004

Bakal! Bote! Dyaryo! SIM!

The average urban neighborhood would always have mag-bo-botes hollering "Bakaaal! Boteee! Dyaryooo!" while pushing their recyclables in a kariton.

But have u encountered the techno-mag-bo-bote?

Around Feb 2004, I first noticed cardboard signs along the busy bangketas below the Boni MRT station saying "Bumibili ng Sirang SIM".

I figured, some enterprising folks must be recycling these SIMs. I didn't think buying of rejected SIMs was popular. But when I went to Alabang yesterday, I saw a lot of these signs every ten or so strides along the busy sidewalk.

So, there's brisk buisness in buying rejected SIMs, so it seems (pathetic pun intended).

Yesterday, the re-purchase rate of SIMs ranged from P10 up to P50 depending on the SIM brand. But just tonight, all the signs I passed were freshly updated. I see they've lowered prices to P10-P30 per SIM. (Update: it's back to P10-P40 as of April 17 evening)

I asked one manong, arnd 40 years old, pepper grey hair without any tech-savvy aura, what they do with purchased SIMs.

He replied: "Hindi ko alam, may bumibili rin lang sa amin ng maramihan."

I wonder what they do with re-purchased SIMS. Until I find out the real fate of these rejected SIMs, I am left with my own speculations:

a. SIM swapped for brand new SIMs.
But only functional SIMs are qualified for SIM swapping. Thus, to SIM swap a bad SIM requires some slight of hand: showing an SIM-swap attendant a valid SIM with signal but surrendering a bad SIM.

I've done this before. But kids, don't try this at home. This SIM slight of hand trick is plain panloloko, and it's a SIN.

b. SIM repair.
I'm thinking, maybe some brilliant Filipinos have found a way to repair damaged or expired SIMs. Perhaps the trend and Filipino talent of repairing cellphones is being applied to repairing SIMs.

I heard that mobile phone repair isn't popular in other countries. The Flilipino, though, will always find a way to maximize the the phone's lifespan through repairs. (Memo: write about Tita Lyns fully functional 8-year old Nokia relic, dark-brown and as big as a brick)

c. SIM info capture.
Recovering the SIM's number and re-encoding it unto another new SIM (or maybe a Multi-SIM). Or recovering SIM phone book entries for SMS spamming.

d. SIM collecting - just for the heck of it! (Naaaahhhhhh)

e. Re-packaging and re-selling damaged SIMs to unsuspecting ignormuses (or is it ignorami?)

f. May be a front for an underground network of cyber-terrorists

Whew! Before i get carried away, here's a somewhat related term I learned from a Smart publication:

"Churn rate" - measures the number of people dropping out of a telco's service as a percentage of the total subscriber base per month.

(O, ha! At least you learned something slightly useful from reading this blog. Expect more of that in future articles.)

A higher churn rate means more used SIMs that will soon expire. That means more business for our techno-magbo-bote!

"Aaaa Boteee! Aaaa Dyaryooo! Aaaa SIIIIM kayo diyaaaan!"

:: Thursday, 15April, 2004. 11:18 PM, Boni. ::
:: Typed on Brosia, my SmartPhone ::

Any other speculations about the fate of rejected and re-purchased SIMs? Add your thoughts by posting a comment to this article. ΓΌ

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