India’s three lead cellcos Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio Infocomm (Jio) have begun rolling out an alternative ‘electronic know your customer (eKYC)’ subscriber identity verification system after the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) refused to extend the deadline for the ending use of the Aadhaar-based system beyond 5 November. The Economic Times cited officials from the trio as saying that a new, alternative methods of confirming the identity of new subscribers digitally were being rapidly rolled out nationwide. The system is understood to be paperless and use scanned images of the user’s proof of address and identity cards.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, India’s cellcos were thrown into disarray by a regulatory U-turn when the Supreme Court reversed an earlier decision that ordered operators to verify new and existing users via the government’s voluntary identification system, dubbed Aadhaar. The court issued its ruling in September but it was not until late last month that the DoT translated the decision into policy direction, ordering providers to cease Aadhaar-based eKYC by 5 November.