Telenor rolls out Aadhaar eKYC verification for SIM cards

Telenor India has rolled out Aadhaar-based eKYC (Know Your Customer) verification facility across its six circles. The facility is now live across 700 stores as a pilot phase and allows instant SIM activation for new customers. The company plans to expand this to all 2,000 retail outlets by end of November 2016.

Telenor also plans to extend Aadhaar based SIM activation to 10,000 Point of Sales (PoS) by tying up with distributors and small retailers in the country. It does not provide a timeline for this. Earlier in August, Airtel, Reliance Jio, Vodafone, and Idea also initiated Aadhaar-based SIM activation across its branded retails outlets.

The framework for Aadhar-based eKYC verification for mobile connections was aided by Department of Telecommunication (DoT). It issued an announcement in August notifying the roll out of the new verification mechanism. Customers can acquire both prepaid and postpaid connections and get them instantly activated by walking into stores and submitting Aadhaar cards or the downloaded version of the card as identity proof to a telco’s PoS counter . Biometric verification using fingerprint or Iris scanners will be treated as a customer’s signature.

The DoT also instructed telcos to maintain details including complete address and codes of all PoS counters and registered distributor centres. Telcos will also have store the card details of appointed sales agents themselves. This is required so that a telco can verify whether a request for subscriber enrollment comes from an appointed agent, who in turn will verify his identity and customer’s identity via a biometric device at PoS counters. This is explained in detail here.

 Aadhaar card numbers

Overall the UIDAI claims to have issued 1,049,627,215 crore Aadhaar cards and opened over 23,000 Permanent Enrolment Centres (PECs) across the country as of August 2016. A comprehensive list of PECs is available here. In March, the Aadhaar Bill 2016 was passed in the Parliament. The bill was introduced as a money bill which bypassed voting in the Rajya Sabha. The bill exclusively contains provisions for imposition and abolition of taxes, for appropriation of moneys out of a consolidated fund.