In a recently issued statement, the Department of Telecom (DoT) has instructed all telecom operators that their user base will have to be reverified on the basis of Aadhaar. The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has stated that its members will convene this week to discuss how to roll out this verification process for the existing billion-plus mobile user base.

The official statement by the DoT,

“…all licensees shall re-verify all existing mobile subscribers (prepaid and postpaid) through Aadhaar-based eKYC process…,”

In the official documentation the governing body also stated that all licensees will have to inform their existing subscribers via, advertisements in print and electronic media as well as direct SMS — about the order of the Supreme Court pertaining to the reverification. The same details have to be uploaded on their respective websites as well.

The Supreme Court of India had issued an order in February this year, stating,

“an effective process has been evolved to ensure the identity verification, as well as, the addresses of all mobile phone subscribers for the new subscribers. In the near future, and more particularly within one year from today, a similar verification will be completed, in case of existing subscribers.”

The DoT has said that the operators will utilise common device eco-system through mutual agreements and work out an efficient mechanism to avoid inconveniencing the public. The COAI has said that the industry backs the move but cautioned stating cost of the entire exercise to be ~₹1,000 crores in additional infrastructure and training which will have to be borne by the telecom operators.

Rajan Mathews, Director COAI was quoted as saying, “The issue of fake subscribers will go away. We will try our best to cover the entire base within the stipulated time frame of one year but in case we cannot, we may ask DoT for an extension,”

For eKYC reverification on the basis of one’s Aadhaar card, your telecom operator will send a verification code on your mobile number. Before initiating the processor, the operator will query regarding this code from the subscriber thus confirming the physical possession of the SIM card with the user. After the completion of this process but before updating or modifying the old data in their database, licensee will have to confirm the veracity of the data from the subscriber on their mobile number after 24 hours via SMS.

The telecom operators can reverify a single mobile connection a service area through a single eKYC but not bulk connections. For issuing additional mobile connections to a reverified user, the operator would have to follow a different eKYC process. This process will not have to be repeated in cases of case of a subscriber converting from a pre-paid to a post-paid connection or vice versa was also clarified.