Kashmir Indepth

Postpaid SIM verification goes tougher in Kashmir; Tele Co’s say no to ‘pre-on-post’ conversion


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Srinagar, Oct 18 :  All the major telecom operators in the region have decided not to convert pre-paid SIM cards into post-paid ones after being asked to take responsibility for “any misuse of the SIM.” The companies will also follow strict verification procedure before issuing new post-paid connection.

According to wire-service, the decision not to convert pre-paid SIM cards into post-paid ones as demanding by hundreds of pre-paid subscribers, comes close on the heels of strict directions issued by the J&K police to all the telecom operators in Kashmir that in case of any misadventure through any SIM, the concerned operators will be held responsible.

Keeping the fresh directive in view, all the telecom operators have decided to issue new postpaid SIM cards only after proper verification that includes police verification as well as the company’s own Know Your Customer (KYC) procedure.

The demand for conversion of pre-paid SIM cards into post-paid ones gained speed after government restored 40 lakh post-paid phones on October 14, after a gap of 70 days. In Kashmir there are 40 lakh post-paid customers and over 26 lakh pre-paid subscribers.

All modes of communication including broadband, mobile phone services and internet were snapped on August 5, when Centre scrapped Article 370 and bifurcated the erstwhile State into two Union Territories (UTs).

A senior police officer told that they have only asked the telecom companies to follow proper verification procedure before issuing any new SIMs to customers. “If the telecom companies have decided not to convert pre-paid SIMs into postpaid connections, it is their own decision. We took a bold decision after giving a go ahead to the telecom operators for re-starting postpaid services across Kashmir despite security concerns,” the officer said, wishing not to be named.

An Airtel official revealed that they have a strict directive from the police and the administration not to issue SIM cards to any subscriber without proper verification.  “Even though we have our own verification system where Know Your Customer (KYC),  is supposed to fill a form but we take the photograph of the customer ourselves and also ask them to show their original authentication documents like Voter Identity cards, Passport or driving license. Since State’s security is our top priority, we will ensure proper verification of the customers before activating the SIMs,” the official told.

Five days after the restoration of the post-paid connections across Kashmir, hundreds of people have started flooding the showrooms of various telecom operators including JIO,  Airtel, BSNL,  Vodafone, Idea and others either to get new SIMs or to convert pre-paid phones into post SIM contacts. However, many customers were left disappointed as all the telecom companies denied to convert pre-paid SIMs into post-paid connections.

“Having a pre-paid connection is a sin in Kashmir. What is wrong in converting pre-paid into postpaid one? I fail to understand the logic given by the telecom operator,” said an angry customer, Aijaz Rasool, who had Airtel pre-paid connection. (KNO)

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