Telcos Cannot Auto-Upgrade 2G Sim Cards to 3G/4G; Consumer Consent a MUST!


Idea SIM Card upgradation

In India, the average revenue per user or ARPU in telecom industry is around Rs 150 per month. This is certainly one of the lowest in the world, and telcos try every possible gambit to increase this number. Even if they are marginally successful, say 3-10%, then it can prove to be a huge jump in quarterly revenues.

After SMS died a slow death, data is the new goldmine, and telecom firms are now trying to mint this new goldmine with every possible tool. The so called ‘free upgradation’ of SIM cards from 2G to 3G or 4G is the new ploy to lure customers into spending more, either intentionally or unintentionally.

Govt. of India has observed this practice, and based on feedback from customer lobby, have decided to regulate the process so that those customers who do not wish to upgrade don’t do it due to aggressive campaigns by the telecom provider.

In a strictly worded instruction, Department of Telecom (DoT) had stopped telcos from upgrading SIM Cards from 2G to 3G or 4G; and have said that customer’s consent is must from now on.

This will help those customers, who unknowingly upgraded their SIM (due to the ‘free upgrade’ factor, ofcourse), and incurred higher data charges than they normally would otherwise.

The Blueprint of SIM Upgradation

Effective September, 2016, the following is the process mandated by DoT for SIM upgrade:

Step 1: In order to upgrade SIM Card, the customer will have to put in a request for the same, either from the website or customer care or any point of sale

Step 2: Once the request is received, the concerned telecom operator will provide a new SIM Card to the customer, which would be sent by post or can be given at the point of sale location. In case the existing SIM Card is being used, then a new SIM Card won’t ne issued.

Step 3: Using SMS or IVR options, the customer will then provide the new SIM Card number to the telecom operator, using the current SIM Card.

Step 4: Once the new SIM Card number is received by the telco, they will send a system generated SMS to the customer, asking for his/her consent for activating the new SIM Card. In case existing SIM Card is being upgraded, then also consent would be required before activating the new service for 3G or 4G.

Step 5: Once the final consent is provided to the telecom operator, the process of upgradation and activation of the new SIM card would initiate.

Step 6: A final confirmation SMS would be sent to the customer, once the new SIM Card or the new service is activated.

In case of IVR based verification for confirming the request for new SIM Card, or providing the new SIM Card number, the telecom operator will have to provide regional language options as well. As per the guidelines issued, the IVR option would be available for three attempts, after which the customer should be able to connect with an agent for support.

Do you think that such detailed guidelines for SIM upgradation will help telecom users from over-spending? Or it will act as a deterrent for those who are actually keen to upgrade, but wish to avoid all hassles?

Do share your views by commenting right here!

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