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DoT ultimatium to mobile cos in NE

By The Assam Tribune

SHILLONG, Nov 23 � The Department of Telecommunication (DoT) has asked all mobile phone companies in the North East to complete the re-verification of its customers within three months, fuelling speculations that a good chunk of the pre-paid connections might be disconnected in the process.

�After the expiry of three months no recharge will be allowed for unverified connection,� a DoT notification to the service providers, issued recently, said.

Some mobile companies, who fear they would not be able to meet the deadline and that an estimated 75-80 per cent of pre-paid customers would go out of the mobile loop, have outsourced the exercise.

�It will be difficult to meet the deadline. The agencies to which the work has been outsourced are working overtime,� said a senior executive at Maxis-controlled Aircel.

According to the notification, a set of new documents need to be furnished by the customers. Mobile companies estimate that nearly 75 to 80 per cent of old customers as well as new customers will not be able to furnish these new set of documents. And if they fail to furnish, they will be disconnected.

�Documentation has now become a huge issue for ordinary people. Not all possess passport or driving license, or for that matter any of the new set of documents notified by DoT,� said an industry source.

�Earlier, village headman certificate, or caste or domicile certificates were accepted as identity proof, but now those won�t suffice. And if the customers cannot furnish the required documents, we have no other choice but to disconnect the connection,� an Airtel source said.

As per the latest DoT notification, voter ID cards of post-2008 can be accepted as an identity proof. In the case of J&K, voter ID cards have been issued post 2008, but not in the case of North East.

According to DoT norms, re-verification of existing pre-paid connections and sale of SIMs for pre-paid and post paid connections will be available only at the company�s authorised outlets operated by the company itself or by the franchisee/distributor.

The security agencies had been expressing concern over militants using mobile phones for their �activities�, with pre-paid connections being made available easily. �The old cases of pre-paid (customers) having more than six connections are to be reviewed to restrict to six,� DoT said, implying that a maximum of six mobile connections (pre-paid and post paid) across the service providers can be purchased by family members.

The DOT also said before appointment of franchises and vendors, the service provider are required to seek clearance from Telecom Enforcement, Resource and Monitoring (TERM) cell which will be based on police verification.

There are an estimated 20 million mobile phone users in the Northeastern States, with special set of rules in place for pre-paid users in the region. Eighty per cent of the total mobile users are prepaid connections. � PTI

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DoT ultimatium to mobile cos in NE

SHILLONG, Nov 23 � The Department of Telecommunication (DoT) has asked all mobile phone companies in the North East to complete the re-verification of its customers within three months, fuelling speculations that a good chunk of the pre-paid connections might be disconnected in the process.

�After the expiry of three months no recharge will be allowed for unverified connection,� a DoT notification to the service providers, issued recently, said.

Some mobile companies, who fear they would not be able to meet the deadline and that an estimated 75-80 per cent of pre-paid customers would go out of the mobile loop, have outsourced the exercise.

�It will be difficult to meet the deadline. The agencies to which the work has been outsourced are working overtime,� said a senior executive at Maxis-controlled Aircel.

According to the notification, a set of new documents need to be furnished by the customers. Mobile companies estimate that nearly 75 to 80 per cent of old customers as well as new customers will not be able to furnish these new set of documents. And if they fail to furnish, they will be disconnected.

�Documentation has now become a huge issue for ordinary people. Not all possess passport or driving license, or for that matter any of the new set of documents notified by DoT,� said an industry source.

�Earlier, village headman certificate, or caste or domicile certificates were accepted as identity proof, but now those won�t suffice. And if the customers cannot furnish the required documents, we have no other choice but to disconnect the connection,� an Airtel source said.

As per the latest DoT notification, voter ID cards of post-2008 can be accepted as an identity proof. In the case of J&K, voter ID cards have been issued post 2008, but not in the case of North East.

According to DoT norms, re-verification of existing pre-paid connections and sale of SIMs for pre-paid and post paid connections will be available only at the company�s authorised outlets operated by the company itself or by the franchisee/distributor.

The security agencies had been expressing concern over militants using mobile phones for their �activities�, with pre-paid connections being made available easily. �The old cases of pre-paid (customers) having more than six connections are to be reviewed to restrict to six,� DoT said, implying that a maximum of six mobile connections (pre-paid and post paid) across the service providers can be purchased by family members.

The DOT also said before appointment of franchises and vendors, the service provider are required to seek clearance from Telecom Enforcement, Resource and Monitoring (TERM) cell which will be based on police verification.

There are an estimated 20 million mobile phone users in the Northeastern States, with special set of rules in place for pre-paid users in the region. Eighty per cent of the total mobile users are prepaid connections. � PTI