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Telecom giants in India including Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea are planning to seek approval from the department of telecommunications (DOT) and the ministry of home affairs (MoHA) to implement a safe and secure model to offer new mobile connections outside retail outlets.

The firms will incorporate e-KYC parameters that will allow users to apply for new SIM cars without going out of their houses. For this, the telecom operators need the approval to arrange for a secure way of home delivery of SIM cards, if the lockdown continues.

Vodafone-Idea spokesperson told ET that the company is “developing a fully-automated, digital customer acquisition process, allowing customers to join its network from the comfort of their homes.” 

Rajan Mathews, director-general of the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), an industry body that represents Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea said that the operators have joined hands to develop a system to provide SIMs through online selling channels.

The three telecom operators have added around 5 lakh news users in March 2020. It is a sharp decline from before the lockdown. The companies were adding 2.5 crores to 3 crore users every month before the coronavirus pandemic started spreading in the country.

Before the pandemic, only 33% of the telecom recharges were performed on digital mediums. However, amidst the lockdown, digital payments are the only way to recharge and pay bills. There is a sharp decline in mobile number portability as well, as all the mobile stores are closed.

While most of the sectors are facing issues amid the spread of the pandemic, the only sector that has boomed is the Internet. As per government data, mobile internet usage has grown by 12% on average since March 25, when the lockdown started. Metropolitan like Delhi and Mumbai have recorded a 3% increase while tier II and tier III cities have noted a 15% increase in data consumption.


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