Telecom operators have expressed reluctance towards the readoption of the Aadhaar-based verification method saying that the new QR based verification technology is equally efficient and takes the same amount of time as the verification from the 12-digit identity number. The telecom operators have also said that the Aadhaar based verification method will also not benefit their customer acquisition, reported ET Telecom.
Supreme Court Ruled Aadhaar Authentication for Private Telcos
A senior executive in one of the major telecom operators of India said, “The Bill is yet to be passed in the Parliament and this provision may come in the future. However, acquiring customers using the QR codes as per the telecom department’s orders is very efficient, and even if Aadhaar makes a comeback, the number of subscriber additions may not vary much.”
The executive made his comments on the recently amended communication and money laundering laws which were discussed after the Supreme Court ruling relating to Aadhaar and privacy. Going by the new amendments to the Telegraph Act and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) consumers will be able to use the 12-digit biometric ID for obtaining mobile numbers or opening bank accounts. According to the report, the amendments are expected to be introduced in the ongoing winter session of the Parliament.
Rajan Matthews, Director General of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) also said, “Bringing back Aadhaar will only help if one gets access to the database because that will give telcos an additional level of security. Without that, this decision does not affect operators at all.”
QR Code Verification More Economically Efficient for Telcos
Another executive from a leading telecom operator said that while accessing Aadhaar data requires an investment of 60 lakh every year, there is no such investment needed in generating QR code thus making it a much more financially efficient verification method. The executive also argued that the Aadhaar in comparison is an expensive way of customer acquisition.
Two months back, right after the Supreme Court passed an order related to this rule, the Department of Telecommunications stopped the telecom operators from using Aadhaar based digital authentication. This move came as a shocker to Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio Infocomm and Vodafone Idea who were using Aadhaar as a quick means for customer acquisition. Citing an absence of a legal provision, the Supreme Court had put a hold on use of Aadhaar authentication by private entities.
It was later when the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) came up with a new verification method; then telcos could cross-check data via a combination of physical identity proof and QR codes. Even the retailers agreed to the opinions voiced by the telecom operators that sparing the initial resistance in adoption the new method of authentication became smooth and subscribers followed new rules without any hassle or complaints.
Arpit spends his day closely following the telecom and tech industry. A music connoisseur and a night owl, he also takes a deep interest in the Indian technology start-up scene and spends rest of his time spilling poetry and stories on paper.