Govt extends pre-paid mobile services in J&K till March only

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New Delhi, Feb 20 (PTI) Nearly 40 lakh pre-paid mobilesubscribers in Jammu & Kashmir and the North-East may losetheir connectivity if the process of re-verifying theiridentities is not completed by March 31 this year.

The re-verification has to be in accordance with thestrict guidelines put forward for telecom operators offeringpre-paid mobile connections in Jammu & Kashmir andnortheastern states.

The government has extended the validity of itspermission for the use of pre-paid SIM cards in these statesonly till March 31 and nearly 40 lakh subscribers may losetheir connections if the decision is not revoked.

In January, 2010, the government had lifted a ban on theuse of pre-paid mobile connections in the North-East and Jammu& Kashmir for one year and had notified strict criteria forre-verification of subscribers, along with other conditions.

"It has been decided to extend the said permission forcontinuance of pre-paid mobile services in J&K Service Areatill March 31, 2011, with the conditions mentioned therein,"an official notification issued recently said.

This also applies to the Assam and North-East serviceareas, an official notification said.

"It may be noted that the validity of pre-paidconnections should be restricted up to March 31, 2011, and inno case the pre-paid mobile connections shall be usable beyondMarch 31, 2011, on the basis of this permission," a DoTnotification to all mobile operators in J&K, Assam andNorth-East service areas said.

In the fresh guidelines, it was stated that though nocustomer shall be given more than one pre-paid or post-paidconnection, if an individual desires to avail moreconnections, he will have to give reasons.

Under no condition will one household in the state beentitled to more than six connections, it said.

The new mobile connections will be issued only againstdocuments having photographs of the customers and at the endof every month, a list of fresh connections would be submittedto state police and telecom watchdog TERM.

Though no reason was given for extending the permissiononly till March, sources in-the-know said that this was doneonly as a temporary solution and a final decision was expectedsoon in this regard.

The Department of Telecom (DoT) is working on themodalities of permitting pre-paid mobile services in thesesensitive areas with the the concerned agencies and operatorsand a final decision will be announced soon, they said.

Asked whether the operators have not implemented theguidelines properly or whether there was some other reason forthe limited extension of the permission, the sources declinedcomment.

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