Morpho and Airtel to test Aadhaar-based mobile phone sign-up

December 11, 2015 - 

Morpho (Safran) has been chosen by Airtel, a leading Indian telecom operator, to become its key partner in an electronic know your customer (e-KYC) pilot project operating in Uttar Pradesh.

In March, Airtel launched an Aadhaar-based e-KYC initiative in the Indian state for subscriber verification. e-KYC is a process that enables banking and telecom customers to open and access accounts by way of their Aadhaar number. Customers in Uttar Pradesh will be required to use their Aadhaar number along with a biometric identifier, such as an iris scan or fingerprint, in order to activate a new prepaid or postpaid mobile phone.

Aadhaar, the world’s largest universal Civil ID program, is the biometric database used by the Indian government to provide social services. To date, Aadhaar has issued 630 million Aadhaar numbers, and has enrolled approximately 850 million people. The database is actively used for monitor school attendance and issue natural gas subsidies to India’s rural poor. The government however intends to use the system for a range of other purposes, including as a means of identification for healthcare insurance beneficiaries, bank accounts, and the issuance of passports and mobile SIM smartphone cards. This pilot project by Airtel will be a key test of Aadhaar. Airtel selected Morpho to develop a new, digitally-based, paperless mobile phone subscriber process.

Sanjeev Shriya, Senior Vice President, India, at Morpho, said: “India is currently one of the best possible global markets to establish cutting-edge technologies. This project with Airtel perfectly demonstrates Morpho’s global leadership in biometric-based solutions for mobile network operators. Strong KYC solutions are at the heart of future mobile ID business trends. They will allow mobile network operators to deploy a whole new set of services by knowing their customers better.”

Morpho is showcasing its relationship with Airtel, since the telecom is the leading mobile network operator in India, with the country’s largest installed subscriber base, pegged at 228 million end users. The Airtel pilot project will be tested at various retail points in Lucknow, which is the Uttar Pradesh state capital. The pilot will use Morpho’s managed services, along with the biometric firm’s branded MorphoTablets. Airtel subscribers are expected to benefit from greater convenience, by avoiding the need to provide paper identification, thereby allowing quicker activation of mobile subscriptions.

Yves Portalier, Vice President and General Manager Telecom Business Unit of Morpho, said: “Morpho has placed great emphasis on developing a solution that is paperless, flexible, fast and cost effective. Mobile network operators can establish more sophisticated services through strong, trusted ID management, thus avoiding fraud. As people and objects become more and more connected, security and authentication have taken on a new dimension. Morpho is focused on digital ID solutions that enable service providers to reinforce authentication processes and guarantee secure access to multiple devices and accounts.”

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About Rawlson King

Rawlson O’Neil King is a contributing editor at BiometricUpdate.com and is an experienced communications professional, management consultant, trade journalist and author who recently published a book about control and electronic networks and who has written numerous articles in trade publications and academic journals about smart home and building technologies. Follow him @rawlsonking2.