Telecom operators to seek six months to re-verify connections

New Delhi, Oct 15 (Calcutta Tube) Telecom service providers will seek an extension of six months to re-verify customer details of an estimated 700 million mobile connections across the country, a senior official of an industry lobby for cellular phone firms said Thursday.

‘The process is underway and the operators are complying with the government norms. But re-verifying 700 million connections is a tedious task. Therefore, we will ask for an extension of six months to finish the work,’ said the official requesting anonymity.

The government Tuesday issued a draft note to all telecom service providers asking them to re-verify existing connections of all customers, citing security concerns.

The deadline fixed for the exercise is Oct 31.

The proposed draft also said all telephone companies should mail SIM cards for new phone connections through postal services instead of selling it through retail outlets.

A personal identification number should be mailed separately, the note added.

According to the official, the new norms will stifle the growth of the sector which is already facing reduced margins because of tariff wars unleashed by most operators.

‘The revenue of the operators for the 15 days of postal delivery will be nil. In rural areas the time taken to deliver SIM cards will be even longer. This is definitely lead to a potential loss,’ the official said.

According to him, the proposal was ‘detrimental to growth’.

‘The proposal will prove detrimental to growth. This will not only lead to a huge loss in the revenue generation but also cause great trouble to customers,’ he said, adding telecom operators will submit their response Oct 18.

The Indian telecom sector has witnessed a remarkable growth in the last few years propelled largely by the unprecedented growth of mobile telephony. Such a regulation might hit the industry hard, he added.

Data released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) showed the moble telephone subscriber base crossed 700 million in August.

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