Getting an instant mobile pre-paid connection may soon be next to impossible as operators have decided that they will no longer sell pre-activated cards.
This is the first of many steps that are being adopted by the industry to address security concerns and tightened subscriber identification and verification norms.
The move follows a government directive last month. All service providers, including state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd, have come together to form the Apex Advisory Council for Telecom in India (ACT) to address the concerns raised by national security agencies.
The ACT, which was formed after discussions between the GSM and CDMA associations — the Cellular Operators Association of India and the Association of Unified Service Providers of India — in its 10-point charter has said that all “mobile connections will be activated by the company representative only after complete verification of the address provided and also after confirmation that all documents are in order”.
The ACT will also provide operators with the platform to cross-check connections in order to ensure that the “same identity is not used to generate multiple connections”.
According to the charter, operators have also agreed to deactivate the connections in cases where a physical verification has not been carried out within 15 days of issuing the same.
Verification apart, all service providers, within the next two months, will jointly form a registry which contains complete details of every single points of sale, retailer, dealer and distributor in the country in a bid to further tighten the existing security norms.
Following this, a system is slated to be put in place, where instances of violations and defaults, including blacklisting and de-registration of any dealer or retailer would be included in the registry.
This will ensure that violators will not be able to apply for a dealership or open a retail outlet for any telecom company in the future.
Both GSM and CDMA operators have also decided to meet on Thursday to take stock of the progress towards implementing these measures.
The DoT has also directed operators to submit actions taken to address security related issues.