India puts 3-month SIM connectivity limit on foreign visitors

India puts 3-month SIM connectivity limit on foreign visitors

Summary: In a move to curb the misuse of SIM cards, India's telecom regulator sets a new guideline which limits foreigners in the country to have mobile connectivity for up to three months.


India's Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has introduced a set of new regulations which prohibit telecos from providing mobile connectivity for more than three months to any foreigner visiting the country.

In a Press Trust of India (PTI) report Monday, the regulator said the guidelines, which were vetted by India's Home Ministry and went into effect recently, were aimed at stemming the misuse of subscriber identity module (SIM) cards.

Citing unnamed official sources, PTI said there had been several cases of misuse of mobile connections issued to foreigners in India, some of which took place after the foreigners departed. The sources also said India's security agencies had expressed concerns over the failure of telcos to provide details of mobile connections in prepaid SIM cards.

According to DoT's guidelines, any mobile connection issued to a foreigner should not have validity beyond that of a visitor's visa. "[The] validity of connection should not be beyond the visa period and also not exceed three months at a time even if the validity of the visa is beyond three months," PTI reported.

DoT also made it mandatory for a licensee to sign a consumer application form (CAF) to certify the information is correct before the SIM card can be activated. In addition, dates of the sale of the SIM card and its activation are to be stated in the CAF, it added.

The guidelines also require foreigners to show proof of address and the address of a local reference, be it that of a tour operator or the accommodation.

Topics: Telcos, Government Asia, India

Jamie Yap

About Jamie Yap

Jamie writes about technology, business and the most obvious intersection of the two that is software. Other variegated topics include--in one form or other--cloud, Web 2.0, apps, data, analytics, mobile, services, and the three Es: enterprises, executives and entrepreneurs. In a previous life, she was a writer covering a different but equally serious business called show business.

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  • wrong approach

    There is specific problem of terrorists using stolen SIM cards or using foreign issued prepaid cards in India. However none of them can be managed by the approach taken in this case.

    It is going to punish foreigners such as journalists, media persons, business people, business workers on long term assignments, and especially foreign students living in India.

    There are at-least few million foreigners in India at any given point. It will also force people to use foreign SIM instead of obtaining Indian one.

    Indian Home ministry has incompetent people in its cadre who have limited or no understanding of technology aspects. They tend to take hasty decisions without thinking about consequences. They also do not think every aspect of the problem and whether the proposed solution will solve the problem.
  • Article not clear

    The article above is not well researched and does not make it clear that the ruling only applies to visitor visas and not to those on Employment, Business or other non-visitor visas.
    The following is from a CAF of one provider in India

    Section 10b of CAF
    ii) If he/she is foreign national (not being a tourist) then Services will be available only during period of validity if his/her visa.
    iii) If he is a foreign tourist then services will be available only during the period of validity of his/her visa or three months from the date of activation of Services whichever is earlier.