Telecom operators have proposed an end-to-end online process for onboarding of new customers. Under this, a user can self-upload their photograph and documents and also make payment on an operator’s mobile app, and after verification, the SIM card can be delivered to the customer’s doorstep and be activated.
The operators, including Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio, through COAI, have already written a letter to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) seeking permission for the self-KYC process.
Earlier, either the customer had to visit a point of sale (PoS) of an operator or a company executive used to collect the documents from the premises of the user. But owing to the lockdown, this has become problematic as movement of non-technical and non-essential telecom staff is restricted and customers also can’t visit a PoS.
As per operators, “there is an urgent need to facilitate customers for obtaining new mobile connections through a self-KYC (know your customer) process which can be performed by an end-to-end online digital process by a customer himself/herself”.
The telcos have sought issuance of suitable guidelines to allow the industry to use this alternate digital process of self-KYC in addition to the current process. “We assure you that the proposed process meets all the requirements of KYC guidelines issued by the government and are only amended to the extent of meeting them through online measures. Also, requisite safeguards have been built in the process to meet the ultimate objective of KYC guidelines,” it said.
“You would appreciate that such an alternate digital process is the need of the hour as there is uncertainty regarding the period of social distancing restrictions being imposed in the country,” COAI said.
But analysts point out this kind of measure, if allowed by the government, will only benefit people who own a smartphone or have access to the internet. “For people living in villages who use a feature phone, it will not help as they don’t have access to internet to apply. But this will certainly provide relief to some extent for the urban connected consumers who want a new connection,” a company executive said.