Customer Verification Penalty on Telcos

A total penalty of Rs. 2,513.44 crores has been imposed on telecom operators for violating customer verification norms as on September 30 this year, Parliament was informed on Wednesday.

The random sample customer acquisition form (CAF) verification process carried out by Term Cells on a monthly basis of each TSP has been done since April 2007.

“As on September 30, 2015, a total penalty imposed on different telecom service providers (TSPs) for violation of CAF verification norms is approximately Rs. 2,513.44 crores,” IT and Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

The telecom operators have been mandated by the Department of Telecom (DoT) to carry out an adequate verification process for all customers before enrolling them as subscribers by verifying their identity through ID and address proof.

The Minister said the subscriber verification process has evolved with the passage of time and consequently, the DoT issued various guidelines to telcos for strengthening the whole process.

“The existing instructions on subscriber verification dated August 9, 2012, have been issued by DoT in consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs,” he added.

To ensure adherence to these DoT instructions by all operators, the Telecom Enforcement Resource and Monitoring (Term) Cells carry out a sample verification of the CAF and related documents of the customers by all operators on a monthly basis, by generating random samples of 0.1 percent of customer base at the end of each month and cross-verifying the same against entries in the database submitted by telcos.

The sample size for J&K, North East and Assam is 0.2 percent on a quarterly basis.

“This verification process by TERM Cells brings out non-compliant cases where DoT guidelines were violated by TSPs in acquiring the customer which may include cases where identities of subscribers are not properly verified,” the Minister said.

He added the random sample CAF verification process carried out by Term Cells on a monthly basis of each TSP has been done since April 2007.

As of September 30, out of the total 6.87 crore CAFs audited, 39.04 lakh CAFs were found non-compliant by TERM Cells during the verification process.

“For all cases on non-compliant CAFs, TERM Cells have taken actions which include imposition of penalty and filing of complaints or FIR against apparently forged cases,” Prasad said.

The service provider has to disconnect the connection or submit the compliant CAF to TERM Cells within 72 hours, the Minister added.

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