With a physical visit to retail stores in order to get a new connection impossible due to lockdown, telecom companies have approached the government to allow a self-KYC process for issuing new SIM cards. With this subscribers can port mobile numbers digitally. Moreover, telecom players have also asked to be allowed to securely and safely deliver SIM cards to homes.
As more and more people move online, the number of people seeking new mobile connections is expected to rise. However, according to industry estimates, the telecom giants, including Vodafone-Idea, Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio, have collectively added only around 5 Lakh new users in March 2020, a sharp decline from an average of 2.5 Cr to 3 Cr per month earlier.
Thus, in a letter to the telecom secretary Anshu Prakash dated April 2, as quoted by the ET, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has proposed an end-to-end digital method to process a connection/porting request.
With this, the customer has to capture a live photo and proof of identification and proof of address with a geotag and time stamp watermark after filling the mandatory details on the operator’s website or app.
For the past few weeks, companies have been exploring the option of incorporating e-KYC (electronic know-your-customer) parameters, allowing users to apply for new SIM cards without going to the mobile stores to buy new connections.
A Vodafone-Idea spokesperson had earlier said that the company is developing a fully-automated, digital customer acquisition process, allowing customers to join its network from the comfort of their homes. The service, the company had confirmed, would be rolled out soon..
Rajan Mathews, director-general of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), had said that the operators know that people are looking for new connections, but cannot do so due to the lockdown. He added that they have joined hands to come up with a system to provide SIMs through online mediums, especially when the customers need it the most.
Additionally, the lockdown is also expected to boost the digital payments as currently that is the only way of making payments. Before the lockdown, according to industry estimates, only one-third of the telecom recharges were made through digital mediums.