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SIM card acquisition goes paperless in India from January 1

Indian mobile users will be able to get new SIM cards without filling out the paper forms. According to a recent notification by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), the paper-based know-your-customer (KYC) process will be done away with from January 1, 2024.

“Considering various amendments/changes made in the existing KYC framework from time to time, it has been decided by the competent authority that the use of Paper-based KYC process, as envisaged in instructions dated 09.08.2012, shall be discontinued with effect from 01.01.2024,” the notification read.

The move is expected to control the cases of SIM fraud. It is also likely to cut the telecom companies’ cost of customer acquisition.

The process of the paper-based customer verification system involves filling up a customer acquisition form, pasting a photograph, and attaching proof of identity and proof of address with the form. In the case of a SIM replacement, the KYC process needs to be completed within 24 hours of incoming and outgoing SMS facilities.

Earlier, DoT announced that it would be mandatory for the telcos to undertake the digital verification of each SIM user. The telecom operators will be responsible for the Police verification. Failing to comply with the changes, a dealer may have to face a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh.

Moreover, the DoT has been deactivating the mobile connections of those having over 9 SIM cards on one identification. A mobile user can only have nine connections at max. This is also being done to curb the cases of fraud. Business Standard

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