DoT bars sale of pre-activated SIMs

DoT bars sale of pre-activated SIMs

Details of subscribers must; violators to be imposed Rs 50,000 fine

DoT bars sale of pre-activated SIMs

Conforming with a Supreme Court order, the government has instructed all mobile service providers not to sell pre-activated SIM cards to subscribers.

A joint expert committee constituted by the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) issued fresh instructions on activating the connection of new subscribers, both prepaid and postpaid, and warned the service providers against violation of the rules.

“Pre-activated SIM card is not to be sold. A penalty of Rs 50,000 per such connection shall be levied in addition to immediate disconnection of mobile service,” the committee said.

The Supreme Court, on April 27, noted that the expansion of telecom sector has increased the responsibility of the government and various other stakeholders in the sector and suggested that expert bodies should decide matters related to verification of pre-paid connections to ensure national safety.

The apex court order came in the wake of a PIL filed by Kolkata-based Avishek Goenka, who cited that SIM cards used in 2008 serial blasts in Mumbai and Delhi were obtained on fake proof of identity and sought strict directions from the court to curb the rampant flouting of rules by service providers which was “threatening national security”.

The fresh guidelines not only make it mandatory for the service providers to obtain full details of the subscriber in the customer acquisition form (CAF) and copies of the identity proof but also require that the details be updated in the subscriber database of the company before activating the connection. Even after the activation of the connection, a cross-check will be made through tele-verification before the subscriber can make a call, to ensure that the user corroborates the details provided in the CAF.

The committee has told the service providers to ensure that the subscriber information filled in the database is correct and lodge an FIR in case they find that forged documents were used to obtain a SIM card.