The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) in India is implementing new rules for SIM cards to tackle frauds like SIM swap scams and fake SIMs. Originally scheduled for October 1, 2023, the rules were delayed by two months but are now effective from today, i.e., December 1, 2023.
E-KYC (Digital KYC) Mandatory
E-KYC or digital Know Your Customer (KYC) is now compulsory for obtaining new SIM cards or replacing an existing one. Submitting a copy of your ID proof alone will no longer be sufficient.
Restrictions on Bulk SIM Cards
While businesses can still acquire bulk SIMs, regular users are limited to obtaining up to nine SIMs with a single ID.
Inactive SIM Re-issuance Delay
Deactivated SIM cards cannot be re-issued for 90 days. This provides users sufficient time to reactivate them, ensuring their mobile numbers aren’t issued to someone else.
SIM Dealer Verification and Registration
Starting December 1, 2023, only authorized dealers can issue SIM cards. Individuals must undergo a thorough verification process. Telecom operators need to register franchisees, distributors, and point-of-sale agents within 12 months to prevent SIM card issuance to suspicious individuals.
Penalties for Unauthorized SIM Issuance
Individuals issuing SIM cards without registration may face penalties of up to ₹10 lakh. The initiative aims to identify, blacklist, and remove rogue sellers from telecom systems.
As part of previous reforms, the government launched the Sanchar Saathi portal for reporting stolen or lost mobile handsets and introduced AI-based software (ASTR) for identifying illegal mobile connections.
In August, Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw stated that over 67,000 dealers selling mobile SIM cards have been blacklisted, and more than 65,000 WhatsApp accounts have been blocked.