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DoT grants 2-month extension to telcos to register, verify SIM card sellers

Telcos sought additional time for implementation of new rules as it required change in their IT systems. Considering the request, the government has given a one-time extension

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BS Web Team New Delhi

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The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has allowed the telecom operators two more months to comply with the new rules regarding the sale of new SIM cards in the country, Financial Express (FE) has reported citing officials familiar with the subject. The government notified the new rules in August. The rules will now take effect from December 1. Earlier, the deadline was October 1.

What do the new rules say?

According to the new rules, telecom companies need to register SIM card sellers and conduct a thorough background check before onboarding them into the system. In addition to this, the government has also prohibited the sale of SIM cards in bulk.

A government official told FE, "Telcos sought additional time for implementation of these instructions as it required change in their IT systems." Considering the request, the government has given a one-time extension, the official added.

What if the telcos fail to comply?

For companies that fail to comply with the new rules to sell SIM cards, the government will impose a penalty of Rs 10 lakh. In other words, if telcos allow SIM card sellers to sell mobile numbers without proper registration after November 30, they will be penalised.

The government has directed telecom firms to complete the registration of existing points of sales (PoS) by November 30, 2024. The registration will include a written agreement between the telecom companies and SIM card sellers.

Why the new rules?

The government introduced new rules to contain the menace of fake SIM cards and financial fraud. It was discovered that many SIM card sellers were issuing SIM cards without proper verification. In some cases, the SIM card sellers were found to be indulging in such illegal activities. The government has said that such sellers will be terminated and blacklisted for a period of three years, the FE report stated.

Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw expressed his concern on the issue and said, "Today, of the companies which acquire SIM cards in bulk for their businesses, only 80 per cent are genuine and the rest 20 per cent misuse them. We have decided to discontinue the concept of bulk connections and bring in proper business connection concept."

So far, the government has blacklisted as many as 70,000 dealers found to be involved in fraudulent SIM card activities.

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First Published: Oct 25 2023 | 10:32 AM IST

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