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India puts 3-month SIM connectivity limit on foreign visitors

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.
Written by Jamie Yap, Contributor

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.

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