The Indian GSM Operators are making all out efforts to meet Government objectives of increasing teledensity through aggressive growth and expansion of services. They are also fully committed to complying with guidelines laid down by DoT and also extending all cooperation and assistance in matters pertaining to law and order, national security, etc.
COAI has played a key role in creating subscriber awareness and has acted as a coordinator for the process of subscriber verification.
The entire industry together with COAI had taken up the herculean task of re-verifying its entire existing prepaid subscriber base of nearly 85 million as of May 31, 2006, and had completed the task to the best of their abilities within the stipulated deadline of March 31, 2007 set up by the Government. This task performed by the Indian mobile Operators is one of its kind, the likes of which have not been seen anywhere else in the world.
To accomplish this objective, the industry has put in enormous efforts to not only ensure complete documentary proof of identity and address of each subscriber but also educate their subscribers as well as their retail chain on the identification issue. Mailers with details of the verification process were sent to each and every Point of Sale personally by the Operators.
COAI also carried out some independent audits and in cases where it was discovered that the retailers were not following the required process, it was decided unanimously by the operators to immediately blacklist the defaulting retailers from selling any mobile services in the future. This was done in order to protect the interests of the consumers so as to protect their identities and the misuse of their documents.
In order to educate all the subscribers there was also a Nationwide Advertising Campaign in the newspapers from November 2006 to February 2007 about the importance of the subscriber verification process. Advertisements were published in regional languages and in all leading Newspapers with Wide Circulation to reach all cross sections of society.
From time to time with guidance from the DoT, the industry had taken various steps to improve the system of subscriber verification to make it more robust. Over the past year, there has been a significant progress in strengthening of the process of subscriber verification which was greatly facilitated due to the collaborative efforts of the industry and the DoT. One such collaborative effort was evident during the Mussoorie Workshop on Subscriber Verification held on May 25-26, 2007 to discuss issues related to Subscriber Verification. Healthy interaction amongst all the Workshop participants, from both the VTM Cells as well as the representatives from the industry led to new levels of understanding between the parties and has paved the way for a renewed spirit of partnership and cooperation.
All this has helped operators in further strengthening their process of Subscriber Verification and in turn help the Government and the Security and Law Enforcement Agencies to combat instances of terrorism and other anti-social activities.