Govt extends pre-paid mobile services in J&K till March only

Nearly 40 lakh pre-paid mobile subscribers in J&K and the North-East may lose their connectivity if the process of re-verifying their identities is not completed by March 31 this year.

New Delhi: Nearly 40 lakh pre-paid mobile
subscribers in Jammu & Kashmir and the North-East may lose
their connectivity if the process of re-verifying their
identities is not completed by March 31 this year.

The re-verification has to be in accordance with the
strict guidelines put forward for telecom operators offering
pre-paid mobile connections in Jammu & Kashmir and
northeastern states.

The government has extended the validity of its
permission for the use of pre-paid SIM cards in these states
only till March 31 and nearly 40 lakh subscribers may lose
their connections if the decision is not revoked.

In January, 2010, the government had lifted a ban on the
use of pre-paid mobile connections in the North-East and Jammu
& Kashmir for one year and had notified strict criteria for
re-verification of subscribers, along with other conditions.

"It has been decided to extend the said permission for
continuance of pre-paid mobile services in J&K Service Area
till March 31, 2011, with the conditions mentioned therein",
an official notification issued recently said.

This also applies to the Assam and North-East service
areas, an official notification said.

"It may be noted that the validity of pre-paid
connections should be restricted up to March 31, 2011, and in
no case the pre-paid mobile connections shall be usable beyond
March 31, 2011, on the basis of this permission", a DoT
notification to all mobile operators in J&K, Assam and
North-East service areas said.

In the fresh guidelines, it was stated that though no
customer shall be given more than one pre-paid or post-paid
connection, if an individual desires to avail more
connections, he will have to give reasons.

Under no condition will one household in the state be
entitled to more than six connections, it said.

The new mobile connections will be issued only against
documents having photographs of the customers and at the end
of every month, a list of fresh connections would be submitted
to state police and telecom watchdog TERM.

Though no reason was given for extending the permission
only till March, sources in-the-know said that this was done
only as a temporary solution and a final decision was expected
soon in this regard.

The Department of Telecom (DoT) is working on the
modalities of permitting pre-paid mobile services in these
sensitive areas with the the concerned agencies and operators
and a final decision will be announced soon, they said.

Asked whether the operators have not implemented the
guidelines properly or whether there was some other reason for
the limited extension of the permission, the sources declined