Telecom operators have reached out to the government requesting it to allow a self- (know your customer) KYC process in order to issue new SIM cards and port phone numbers digitally.

The move comes amid the COVID-19 outbreak induced lockdown which has left no options for a physical visit to a store for such services.

To this end, the Apex Advisory Council for Telecom in India (ACT) and Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) have requested the government jointly for the same.

In its recent letter to the telecom secretary Anshu Prakash, dated April 2, 2020, the COAI has proposed an end-to-end digital method to process a connection/porting request.

Meanwhile, ACT urged Department of telecommunications (DoT) to come out with suitable guidelines to allow the industry to use a digital process in addition to the current process.

The self- KYC can be done by the users as after filling the required details on the operator’s website or app, the customer can capture live photo and point of interface (PoI) and point of access (PoA)  with a geo tag and time stamp water mark.

As proposed by COAI, customer will record or read out a five second / short video during which the liveliness of the recording is detected and best photo is captured using artificial intelligence (AI) tool.

Telecom service providers (TSP) will be validating the data in order to ensure online subscriber verification. Post this, customer can select a final door step delivery or self-pickup option from the nearest carrier location to receive the new SIM. Only two mobile connections shall be provided per day using any one of the PoI/PoA documents to a customer by the TSP using the above-mentioned process.

The facility will be available for additional SIMs, new connections or repeat orders of corporates/ company owned and company paid (COCP) bulk connections.

COAI said that requisite safeguards have been built in the process to meet the ultimate objective of KYC guidelines issued by the government and are only amended to the extent of meeting them through online measures.