This Big SIM Card Change Is Coming From January 1 2024; And Why Airtel, Reliance Jio And Vodafone-Idea Are Happy

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In a move welcomed by telecom operators (Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone-Idea) in the country, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has announced the discontinuation of paper-based KYC (Know Your Customer) verification for mobile user enrollment. This change, effective January 1, 2024, aims to streamline the process, reduce costs for telcos, and improve security by combating SIM fraud.

The current process requires filling out paper forms, attaching photos, and submitting physical copies of identity and address proofs. This process will be replaced with a completely digital KYC process, leveraging existing regulatory updates.

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What does DoT’s notification say

“Considering various amendment/changes made in the existing KYC (Know Your Customer) framework from time to time, it has been decided that the use of paper-based KYC process, as envisaged in instructions, dated 09.08.2012, shall be discontinued with effect from 1.1.2024,” DoT said in a notification Tuesday.

The DoT’s notification states the discontinuation of the paper-based KYC process, citing amendments to the existing framework. Industry experts anticipate this shift to significantly lower customer acquisition costs for telcos, while also assisting the government in its efforts to curb fraudulent activities.

This decision comes after the DoT’s August 2023 announcement, which introduced stricter verification requirements for mobile phone number applicants and Point of Sale (PoS) entities. This measure aimed to address concerns about fraudulent activities facilitated by compromised PoS entities. These new rules came into force from December 1.

Why Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone-Idea are happy

Industry executives said that the decision to scrap the paper-based KYC and go digital for mobile user enrollments would cut telcos’ customer acquisition costs as well as also help the government check SIM card fraud. There have been rising cases of SIM card fraud. All telecom companies have on numerous occasions warned their subscribers about SIM card-related scams.

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