July 1, 2015 -
Several Indian telecom operators including Idea Cellular, Vodafone and Airtel are preparing to launch e-KYC services by the end of the year, according to a report by MyDigitalFC.com.
The move follows the department of telecommunications charging mobile operators Rs 2,800 crore ($420 million) in penalties from 2007 through 2012 for issuing SIM cards based on fake identity documents.
The new e-KYC services will enable telecos to save on cost and time by providing immediate and accurate verifications through the Aadhar biometric identity card number system.
The identity of Indian citizens can be authenticated in less than 30 seconds if the person has an Aadhar card number by verifying their fingerprint biometric data.
The DoT is currently conducting pilot programs with various teleco providers to verify the nationally integrated system.
With some 950 million mobile and data connections happening every year, it is a growing challenge for telecos to identify every customer with a driver’s licence and identity documents that can be easily forged.
Using the Aadhar card number and a biometric authentication solution would greatly improve the authentication process and make it significantly easier to identify citizens.
“Some test runs are on with the help of DoT, which are in advanced stages and now the work on integration of these services would be done,” said Rajat Mukherjee, chief corporate affairs officer at Idea Cellular. “We expect the e-KYC to be launched by the end of this calendar year across the country after it gets mandated by DoT.”
India’s largest telcom operator Airtel has been performing test runs of e-KYC services in several states including UP and Rajasthan, where it has seen a direct impact on its cost and time savings, an Airtel official said.
Meanwhile, DoT selected Vodafone India to lead the way for launching an instant, safe and secure e-KYC authentication service in Kolkata.
So far, the teleco has completed over 1,300 activations and is working closely with DoT to make this pilot project a success, a Vodafone spokesperson said.
Additionally, third-party companies such as Suvidha Infoserve are in talks with major telecos and expect to soon begin offering e-KYC services.
“We are in talks with most telecom operators and based on our discussions I believe it should become operational in select circles by the year-end,” said Paresh Rajde, chairman of Suvidha. “We currently have 15,000 outlets that we are using for Axis Bank pre-paid card authentication and it can be used for the e-KYC for telecom operators as well.