A new notification which allows for voluntary Aadhaar based-digital verification will help the top three telecom companies of India, Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea in speeding up their subscriber addition process, industry executives said. The industry experts also added that this would bring down the costs of user acquisition as well for these companies, especially in the rural regions. In their words, Aadhaar would be a full proof authentication mechanism as compared to the QR codes which were being used to verify IDs before giving away SIMs.
Better Option Than QR Codes and Physical ID Proofs
Hetal Gandhi, director of research at Crisil India told ET Telecom, “Aadhaar-based customer verification will boost customer acquisitions for big telcos, particularly in rural markets where a bulk of the new customer adds are happening now.” She added to her words, “Aadhaar will be a simpler and stronger authentication mechanism for telcos to validate prepaid customers, particularly in rural markets before disbursing handset subsidy.”
It is worth noting that Mukesh Ambani led telecom operator, Reliance Jio Infocomm’s 4G feature phone, JioPhone has become a success in the rural regions and is the reason why many subscribers have joined the 4G bandwagon. Speaking about the faster verification process based on Aadhaar, Rajan Matthews, director of Cellular Operators Association of India, which represents big telcos like Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio said that he expects “a definite increase in the pace of subscriber adds if more folks voluntarily opt for the Aadhaar-based verification system following the latest ordinance”.
eKYC Process Made Voluntary for Consumers
It was last week when the Cabinet issued an ordinance which allows consumers to voluntarily use Aadhaar to complete the eKYC process while opening a bank account or buying a new connection. Rajiv Sharma, co-head of research, SBICap Securities said that since the process of verification via Aadhaar is a one-shot process, it will make the customer onboarding process fast. It will also be much better than the process which involved the mixing of the QR code and the physical ID proof. He also added that there might be a slight dip in the costs of customer acquisition as the Aadhaar verification process catches up nationally.
To recall, last year the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had barred Aadhaar based mobile verification process with an order from the Supreme Court which came as a shocking move for these telecom operators. The companies were widely using the Aadhaar based verification process for rapid customer acquisition. Post the step, DoT had come up with an alternative verification process, but it involved the use of QR code and a blend of physical ID proofs.