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
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. ü