eKYC for Telecom

Aadhaar eKYC can make new mobile connection cost zero: Trai chairman

Trai Chairman R S Sharma today said cost of activation of a new mobile connection can virtually come down to zero if electronic KYC of Aadhaar is implemented as authentication will be done digitally.

He said transaction costs are reduced substantially when Aadhaar is used as an authentication tool.

“If you are taking a mobile connection, currently the cost of activation of a mobile customer is Rs 150 because you have to fill a customer acquisition form (CAF), you have to give paper documents… if you use digital identity authentication, you can fill the customer form, digitally sign it and get your electronic KYC. So, essentially the cost is equal to zero,” Sharma said at the annual growth Net summit here.

Sharma has made recommendations to the Department of Telecom (DoT) to this effect and the latter has “apparently” accepted it.

After the government finalises the norms, it will enable instant identity verification using Aadhaar card bio-metric data for a new mobile connection.

When operators issue new connections using the Aadhaar card, it would speed up the verification process as everything will be done online, Sharma hoped.

He, however, pointed to the big gap between technology development and its implementation.

Sharma as the UIDAI Director General and then as Department of Electronics and IT (Deity) Secretary had earlier recommended to DoT on making the whole process paperless.

This, however, met with scepticism in some quarters on security issues.

“Now, what is happening is one person who takes your PAN card is able to give 20 SIMs to different people and if they commit a crime, you will be caught. You are not aware who is using or misusing your PAN card to get the SIMs,” Sharma explained.

Citing the example of Peshawar attack in Pakistan which killed many children, the Trai chairman said there were six terrorists who had SIMs that were issued to a woman.

“Pakistan decided to authenticate all the SIMs with biometrics and they had completed the programme last year,” he added.

Morpho and Airtel Partnering for eKYC Proof of Concept in India

Morpho (Safran), a global leader in digital ID and biometrics solutions, has been chosen by India’s leading telecom operator Airtel to become its key partner in an electronic know your customer (eKYC) program in Uttar Pradesh.
Morpho and Airtel Partnering for eKYC Proof of Concept in India
Through digital on-boarding of subscribers, the proof of concept (POC) with Airtel will avoid fraud whilst at the same time implement a cost-effective, flexible and environmentally friendly solution.

Airtel India is the leading mobile network operator (MNO) in India and has the country’s largest subscriber base of 228 million end users. Airtel selected Morpho to develop a new, digitally-based subscriber on-boarding process and meet increasing demand for data reliability. Using the secure, well-established Indian ID system Aadhaar, Morpho’s eKYC solution provides Airtel with innovative technologies and services to enable one of the first paperless ID experiences performed in India for an MNO.

The Airtel POC initiative to launch registration is being carried out at various retail points in Lucknow, the capital city of the state of Uttar Pradesh. Morpho’s managed services, which are supported by fully integrated MorphoTablets™ as the single user interface, include the front- and back-end applications. End users benefit from greater convenience, avoiding the need to provide multiple kinds of papers and enabling a quicker activation of the subscription.

Yves Portalier, Vice President and General Manager Telecom Business Unit of Morpho, said: “Morpho has placed great emphasis on developing a solution that is paperless, flexible, fast and cost effective. MNOs can establish more sophisticated services through strong, trusted ID management, thus avoiding fraud. As people and objects become more and more connected, security and authentication have taken on a new dimension. Morpho is focused on digital ID solutions that enable service providers to reinforce authentication processes and guarantee secure access to multiple devices and accounts.”

Sanjeev Shriya, Senior Vice President, India, at Morpho, added: “India is currently one of the best possible global markets to establish cutting-edge technologies. This project with Airtel perfectly demonstrates Morpho’s global leadership in biometric-based solutions for mobile network operators. Strong KYC solutions are at the heart of future mobile ID business trends. They will allow MNOs to deploy a whole new set of services by knowing their customers better.”


The first major customer for UIDAIs’ eKYC identity authentication service is Reliance Communication.

Way back in October 2012, Vodafone had launched a pilot program in Andhra Pradesh using UIDAIs’ eKYC identity authentication service. However, there has been no further news on this front.

Reliance Communication has already tested this eKYC Service in a non company multi brand small retail outlet. It is now waiting for DOT (Department of Telecom) guidelines on the eKYC norms.

The envisaged process flow is as under:

01) Prospective customer walks into the RCOM Showroom/vendor, with his/her Aadhaar Card.

02)                An eKYC request, along with Aadhaar number and authentication is sent as an input and the name, address, date of birth, gender, and photograph, is received by the RCOM Retailer

03)                Once authenticated, the mobile connection will immediately activated by RCOM.

The present process for Mobile connections-KYC is that the customers had to submit a photocopy of customers KYC documents and photo to purchase a SIM card.

Retailers then had to submit the documents to the company and the SIM would get activated after the company verified the documents.

Aadhaar authentication makes the entire process swift and paperless.  The adoption of eKYC largely depends on the IT infrastructure. It may be noted, that the same IT infrastructure can be utilized by multiple service providers and duplication can be avoided.