The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has made a pivotal announcement that has been greeted with enthusiasm by major telecom operators like Airtel, Reliance Jio, and Vodafone-Idea across the country. Effective January 1, 2024, the DoT has declared the cessation of paper-based KYC (Know Your Customer) verification for enrolling mobile users, marking a significant shift in the enrollment process.
The existing procedure entails the cumbersome task of filling out paper forms, attaching photographs, and submitting physical copies of identity and address proofs. However, this traditional method will soon be supplanted by a fully digital KYC process, leveraging updated regulatory protocols.
In a notification released on Tuesday, the DoT stated, "Considering various amendment/changes made in the existing KYC (Know Your Customer) framework from time to time, it has been decided that the use of paper-based KYC process, as envisaged in instructions, dated 09.08.2012, shall be discontinued with effect from 1.1.2024."
The DoT's decision to phase out the paper-based KYC system aligns with recent amendments to the prevailing framework. Experts anticipate that this move will substantially reduce customer acquisition expenses for telecom companies while aiding the government's endeavors to combat fraudulent activities.
This decision follows the DoT's earlier announcement in August 2023, introducing stricter verification prerequisites for mobile phone number applicants and Point of Sale (PoS) entities. This initiative aimed to address concerns about fraudulent activities linked to compromised PoS entities and came into effect from December 1.
Industry executives have welcomed the decision to transition from paper-based to digital KYC for mobile user enrollments, foreseeing a reduction in telcos' acquisition costs and heightened security against SIM card fraud. Telecom companies have consistently cautioned subscribers about rising instances of SIM card-related scams, making this transition a proactive step in curbing fraudulent activities.