Airtel rolls out Aadhaar-based instant activation for new mobile connections

KOLKATA: Bharti AirtelBSE 0.96 % on Monday rolled out Aadhaar-based digital verification process in Delhi for instant activation of new Airtel mobile connections while Vodafone India will offer the same across India from Wednesday from its 4,500-plus select stores and mini-stores.

Third-largest operator Idea CellularBSE 6.72 %, in turn, will follow suit shortly, but is yet to finalise a date.

Bharti Airtel’s decision comes less than a week after the telecom department cleared electronic-Know Your Customer (e-KYC) rules for using biometric identification for issuing new mobile connections.

“The Aadhaar-based eKYC solution is live in company-operated stores across Delhi NCR and will be rolled out across the country over the next few days,” Bharti Airtel said in an official statement on Monday.

Vodafone India, in turn said, come Wednesday (August 24), customers across the country can walk away with a new prepaid or postpaid connection within minutes of presenting their Aadhaar number and undergoing a fingerprint verification at its more than 4,500 select and mini stores.

“The use of e-KYC will reduce delays in activating new connections, typically, caused by infrastructure challenges like power cuts, transporting volumes of paper, lack of photocopying and photography facilities,” Vodafone India said in an official statement on Monday.

Use of e-KYC, it said, would also strengthen the verification process as there would be no room for any manual error. “Vodafone India is set to delight customers with the benefits of the e-KYC led paperless process, and from Wednesday, we are rolling it out across the country,” Sandeep Kataria, director (commercial), Vodafone India, said in a media statement.

Starting September this year, the paperless validation and activation facility will be rolled out in all 10,000-plus Vodafone branded stores in urban and rural areas and also across all multi-brand outlets, pan India, in a phased manner.

Vodafone India had recently partnered with the telecom department to pilot the Aadhar-based e-KYC solutions and tested it successfully in two circles. The company has developed a special app that enables retailers to activate customers using e-KYC.

The advantage of the e-KYC solution is manifold — it eliminates the need for paper-based documentation, which often takes time to collate and submit, ensures better confidentiality and privacy of customer information and radically reduces the waiting time for a new connection, leading to an overall superior customer experience.