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Cellular industry asks for more time for verification

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, July 23 (UNI) The country's cellular industry has said that it is virtually impossible to comply with the government deadline of five months, for the customer verification process and asked for the time-line to be increased to Mar 31, 2007 whereby it will verify 100 per cent per-paid subscribers.

Cellular operators BSNL, Airtel, Hutch and Reliance, however assured the government of their full support for subscriber verification for new phone connections and said the process will be simple and user friendly.

In recent months, the industry has been making all out efforts to complete the re-verification of subscribers as desired by the Government.

However, it is becoming increasingly clear that it will be virtually impossible for the service providers to comply with the deadline of 5 months given by the Government--December 31,2006 .

In this regard, it may be noted that in the case of South Africa, which has 50 million mobile subscribers, the Government has given the operators 36 months to verify their databases. Even the small city state of Singapore has been able to verify only 70 per cent of its mobile subscriber base in seven months.

It is thus submitted, that in line with the proposal for new subscriber additions, the industry undertakes to carry out a physical verification of 10 per cent of their existing prepaid subscriber base, to be completed in a phased manner by December 31, 2006.

In a letter to Communications and IT Minister Dayanidhi Maran, COAI said each operator will ensure that each subscriber applicant submits a Subscriber Application Form, Photograph, Proof of Identity and Proof of Address The operator will also 'cross-check' the details given in the Subscriber Acquisition Form with the details given in the supporting documents submitted by the applicant, which must match.

Henceforth no pre-activated cards/handsets will be available in the market place, i.e. the connection will not be usable for making any outgoing or receiving any incoming calls, until it is ensured that 100 per cent documentation has been submitted by the subscriber applicant.

Each operator will obtain an undertaking from the subscriber applicant confirming that the particulars submitted by him are correct.

The operator will also undertake to carry out a complete cross-check of subscriber details and also a physical address verification of a minimum 10 per cent of his new pre-paid subscribers during each month on a stratified basis.

The telecom operator will have de-duplicating software in place by the end of August, 2006, to uncover any cases of multiple connections, which would then be investigated further to determine their legitimacy or otherwise.

Each operator will continue to inform the Points of Sale /franchisees, who are the only personal interface, with the subscriber applicant of the importance of ensuring that they obtain the full documentation from the subscriber applicant, The operator will re- verify his existing subscriber base by carrying out a physical verification of 10 per cent of the existing prepaid subscriber base, on a stratified basis by December 31, 2006.

It will also ensure 100 per cent documentation requirements of the existing subscriber base by March 31, 2007.

It will undertake that it will extend any additional assistance and facilitation that may be required by designated security agencies from time to time.

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