The Cellular Operators' Association of India has put forward the proposal to the Department of Telecom, which has asked telecom operators to carry out proof of concept on it.

Man using mobile phone
Money Mobiles Tuesday, May 25, 2021 - 17:50

Mobile phone subscribers may soon be able to switch from a prepaid connection to postpaid one and vice versa by using an OTP (one time password)-based authentication without the need to change SIM card, according to an official note issued by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). The Cellular Operators' Association of India (COAI) has mooted the proposal to the Department of Telecom (DoT), which has asked telecom operators to carry out proof of concept (PoC) on it. 

As per the DoT note, the final decision on permitting the proposal will depend on the outcome of PoC. A proof of concept refers to evidence usually derived from an experiment or pilot project, which demonstrates the feasibility of a design concept, business proposal, etc. In the note issued on May 21, the DoT ADG Suresh Kumar said, “The PoC for conversion from prepaid to postpaid and vice versa may be carried out by the telecom service providers as per the procedure...The decision regarding implementation of the procedure shall be taken after the assessment of the outcome of the PoC.”

The COAI, consisting of members like Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio, had asked the DoT on April 9, 2020 for permission to let mobile users change from prepaid to postpaid and vice versa by forgoing the need for fresh KYC procedure and using OTP-based authentication instead. Stating that OTP-based authentication has become an acceptable norm in all sectors in the recent past and most of the citizen centric services are being offered with OTP authentication, the DoT note added that contactless services in the present era are to be promoted for subscriber convenience and also for ease of doing business. 

How the process will work

> A mobile subscriber who wants to switch from prepaid to postpaid connection or vice versa will have to send a request to their service provider through SMS, IVRS, website or authorised app.

> On receiving the request, a message will be sent to the subscriber acknowledging the request for conversion along with a unique transaction ID and an OTP which will be valid for 10 minutes.

> After the OTP gets validated, the customer will be informed about the date and time of the conversion coming into effect via text message or IVRS. 

> Once the conversion process is completed, a text message will be sent to the customer confirming it. Disruption of services, if any, during the conversion process shall not exceed 30 minutes, according to the DoT note. 

Further, a customer can re-convert only after 90 days after the previous conversion. Currently, over 90% of mobile subscribers in the country are using prepaid services.​

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