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General News Re-verify mobile numbers online from January 1, 2018: DoT to telcos
NEW DELHI: Mobile phone users will have to wait till January 1, 2018 for the comfort of re-verifying their mobile numbers through Aadhaar, without visiting the retail outlets of telecom companies.

Foreign nationals who do not have Aadhaar and did not have the option to get their mobile numbers re-verified will be able to do so by visiting their carrier’s retail outlets and submitting their passport details, the telecom department said Friday. A telco representative can also visit the subscriber.

The DoT mandated telcos to re-verify mobile numbers belonging to non-resident Indians (NRIs) and senior citizens above 70 years not having Aadhaar or their mobile number registered with Aadhaar, besides physically challenged people, by using systems created by telcos on their websites.

Those having mobile numbers registered with Aadhaar will be able to use 14546 as an interactive voice response system (IVRS) helpline number for generating one-time password (OTP), for getting their mobile numbers re-verified.

“The licensee must ensure that the above mentioned category of subscribers shall be able to re-verify their mobile connections through these alternative methods by January 1, 2018,” the DoT said in a notice on Friday, detailing processes for five sub-categories of subscribers.

“The licensee shall use 14546 as the non-metered short code for IVRS based OTP authentication process the re-verification of mobile subscribers,” the department added in an 18-page note, which was also issued to telecom players.

The telecom department has specified the processes telcos have to adopt for doing the re-verification online for each of the subset of subscribers, while addressing the issue of changes in customer acquisition form or CAF, which was flagged by carriers. The DoT has now allowed telcos to use electronic forms or e-CAF while completing the re-verification process on their websites.

The clarity from DoT will now allow carriers to put processes in place and begin online re-verification from January, 2018. For instance, telcos will have to create a web portal or page specifically for NRI customers. It also addressed the demand of carriers to provide an extension of four to six weeks to implement the government-mandated processes.

"We're looking into and evaluating the processes that have been defined by the DoT," said Cellular Operators Association of India, which represents all carriers including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Idea Cellular and Reliance Jio.

The DoT has been mandated by the Supreme Court to re-verify all mobile numbers, and had set the deadline of February 6, 2018. With a month-long delay, meeting the deadline looks tough.

“In case required, we can seek an extension from the apex court. But if the new methods are adopted, it will fasten the process of verification manifold,” a DoT official said, but did not mention whether the call for seeking the extension has been taken internally.

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) had said mid-last month that mobile phone users will no longer need to visit stores of telcos from December 1, after the DoT identified three methods of re-verification of mobile phone numbers – to use OTP or one-time password generated through SMS, IVRS and through the telcos’ mobile apps – to ease the process of re-verification.

DoT, in October, had also allowed re-verification through iris-based biometric devices and at the doorsteps of consumers who are unable to use OTP or fingerprint authentication or who are incapacitated and cannot go to retail stores. While telcos submitted the processes for approval to DoT and UIDAI, the latter turned down the option of OTP through SMS, citing security issues.

It is unclear at the moment if the DoT has disallowed home visits.

Airtel Digital HD Recorder / Kerala Vision Digital TV
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