Subscribers’ consent must for upgrading 2G SIM cards to 3G, 4G: DoT to telcos

The new norms will put an end to automatic upgrade of SIM cards to allow high-value services by some telecom operators


Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint
Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

New Delhi: The department of telecom (DoT) has come out with new guidelines on upgrading SIM cards to 3G or 4G from 2G, which can be activated only with a clear go-ahead from mobile users and on their request.

“The subscriber shall generate request for SIM upgradation to the licensee through customer care or online via the website or point of sale of the licensee. Upon receiving the request, the licensee will provide a new SIM card to the subscriber,” the new guidelines on issuance of new SIM cards for upgrade, effective 1 September, said.

The new norms will put an end to automatic upgrade of SIM cards to allow high-value services by some operators.

To upgrade the SIM card, the subscriber will have to generate a request through the customer care online or at the point-of-sale of the company. Once the request is received, the operator will issue a new SIM card to the subscriber.

The customer will then make use of her current working SIM to provide the new SIM number to the service provider either through SMS or IVR.

After getting the intimation, the operator will have to send a system-generated SMS to the subscriber to provide consent for SIM upgradation or exchange.

On receiving affirmative confirmation from the subscriber, the operator may initiate the process of deactivation of the old SIM card and activation of the new one.

“The licensee must ensure the process shall proceed further only after receiving affirmative confirmation from the subscriber,” the guidelines said.

A confirmation SMS may be sent to the subscriber after completion of the above process, it added.

“The process which was being adopted by the licensees for issuing new cards in case of upgradation till the issuance of this letter may also be treated as valid,” the guidelines said.

Meanwhile, to reduce burden on operators, the DoT has approved tele-verification of subscribers on interactive voice response system (IVRS) that will help a subscriber submit her details directly before the service provider for SIM activation.

The current rules require that operators should at least do a tele-verification of the user after activation of the SIM card. Those deploying IVRS-based tele-verification will need to provide an option to choose vernacular language used in the telecom circle where the subscriber resides.

The system will ask for details submitted by the subscriber to the retailer for buying a SIM. The subscriber will be given three attempts to fill in correct details after which the call will be connected to the call centre agent.

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