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DoT Consults Telcos To Chart Post-Aadhaar Road To Verify Customers

Source said a few meetings between DoT officials and telecom operators have already taken place but no final decision has been arrived at

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is consulting telecom operators to chart an alternate mechanism to verify customers after the Supreme Court (SC) judgment barring online authentication using Aadhaar numbers.

Source said a few meetings between DoT officials and telecom operators have already taken place but no final decision has been arrived at.

“The DoT has asked for the opinion of the attorney general about the SC’s order and what could be done for customer verification that will comply with the order,” a source said.

As of now, mobile operators are on-boarding new customers using Aadhaar authentication.

However, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) had asked telecom companies to submit a plan to stop using Aadhaar. The deadline to submit the plan was October 15, but operators have sought more time.

Telecom executives said they will abide by the orders of the DoT regarding customer verification.

A DoT official said telcos have to comply with the SC order but the department will ensure customers do not face inconvenience.

“You can use the physical copy of Aadhaar but can’t authenticate. Even in cases when the customer wants to use Aadhaar voluntarily, it can’t be allowed unless there is a backing by law,” the official added.

The SC on September 26 barred private companies from using Aadhaar-based authentication, terming it “unconstitutional”.

The telecom commission has cleared a proposal on the closure of services by telecom operators.

According to the decision, if any telecom firm wants to shut down services, it has to notify the DoT and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) 60 days in advance. The telecom firm also needs to inform customers 30 days in advance about its plans to shut down services. Earlier, no time limit was specified.

Regarding trading of spectrum, operators need to inform the DoT 45 days prior to the deal.

The DoT will respond to operators in 15 days for partial sale of spectrum and 21 days for complete sale of airwaves. This is expected to ensure the ease of doing business. The panel also approved the recommendations of TRAI on spectrum-usage charges (SUC) for internet service providers (ISPs) and satellite service providers. – Business Standard

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