SoftAge helps Vodafone in re-verification of its 4 crore customers

Deploys document management services

By Tech Radar India | Nov 1, 2016, 03.30 PM IST
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In 2010, the Department of telecommunications had laid down stringent subscriber verification norms for proper system of verification of the phone number ordering a re-verification of all existing mobile users in the country. This is so as to guard against fraudsters, terrorists, money launderers responsible for spoofing of the phone numbers as mobile phones would be used as the second factor authentication.

In the fresh guidelines, it was stated that though no customer shall be given more than one pre-paid or post-paid connection but if an individual desires to avail more connections, the person will have to give reasons for it. Under no condition, one household in the state shall be entitled to more than six connections

Also, mobile subscribers will no longer be able to furnish electricity bills, caste/domicile certificates or even photo-IDs attested by Group A officers to continue using their mobile phones. Instead, they will have to furnish either a passport, an arms licence, a CGHS (central government health service) card, a driving license, PAN card or a voter ID issued by the Election Commission to stay connected The guidelines issued made it mandatory for all telecom operators to complete the re-verification process of their existing connections within six months to avoid disconnection, including Vodafone Essar which has emerged as second largest customer base company in the telecom sector in India.

The ministry had asked security agencies to conduct a secret audit of whether the telecom operators were following the recently revised guidelines that comprised strict verification norms. This would further be followed by random checks every month by DoT’s vigilance officers to determine the extent of violation by the operators.

Telecom companies failing to comply with the directive may be heavily penalised and may even lead to cancellation of their licenses. They also clarified on the penalty slabs to be used for determining respective fines. This was too address concerns raised by security agencies, and to further tighten the mobile subscriber verification norms. A mobile operator with a verification percentage of 95% and above will have to shell out much less than an operator with a lower verification percentage.

DoT has decided that operators will have to pay a penalty of Rs 50,000 per subscriber if they have more than 20 per cent of their user base without proper identity documents.

Subscriber re-verification is an ongoing government exercise to close all possible gaps in ensuring the country's security. The DoT has been issuing notifications from time to time to mobile operators to get 100% verification. In an environment where Indian telcos are adding more than 10 million subscribers a month, this comes as a big jolt because these companies would eventually find it unmanageable to handle verification process for such a large number and had to shell out crores to implement DoT's new verification rules.

Vodafone decided to outsource these services and turned to SoftAge. They decided to implement SoftAge Document management services for the entire Reverification process.

The company helped Vodafone by undertaking a massive subscriber re-verification drive in different parts of the country to weed out cellular phone connections obtained using fake documentation.

SoftAge deployed requisite manpower and over 500 workstations that operated round the clock in different part of the country to ensure this. All prepaid and postpaid mobile subscribers had to undergo re-verification of their mobile connection with Vodafone by submitting afresh the customer forms and requisite documents for proof of identity, proof of address and customers photograph so that user’s identity is traceable.

The physical verification of customer Information form was done by SoftAge verification executives followed by data verification through second level audit. SoftAge installed its workflow-based software SoftDoc, to automate and maintain the scanning and record entry of customer information forms. The digitized CIF data was uploaded on Vodafone server for easy access. The cost of the deployment is 193 crores (approx).

The data was uploaded to Vodafone server and the access was provided to government who can view the information when required. SoftAge was able to re-verify 4,15,67,165 CIF’s for existing subscribers within six months as per the timeline specified by the government. The company achieved verification percentage of 99% thus minimizing the penalty as per the graded penalty system. This has helped improve privacy protections for customers as it reduced the chances of mishandling customers information.

Prior to 2012, though activation was instant, the TAT for verification was 0-14 days. After TRAI changed the rules, this deployment helped the leading operator to transform their processes and reduce the TAT to 0-48 hours, across India, for both prepaid and postpaid connections, says the company.

(Image Credits: Thinkstock)

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