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Mobile users may soon be able to switch from postpaid to prepaid and vice versa using OTP

Mobile phone subscribers may soon be allowed to switch from a postpaid connection to prepaid and vice versa by using an OTP-based authentication and without a need to change SIM card, according to an official DoT note.

Industry body Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) has proposed the mechanism to the Department of Telecom (DoT) and the department has asked telecom operators to carry out proof of concept (PoC) on the same.

The final decision on allowing the change in the account will depend on the outcome of PoC, according to the DoT note.

“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,” DoT ADG Suresh Kumar said in the note issued on May 21.

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The COAI, whose members include Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone Idea, had requested the DoT on April 9 for permission to allow mobile customers to migrate from prepaid to postpaid and vice versa without undertaking fresh KYC procedure and by using OTP (one-time password) based authentication.

“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. Contactless services in the present era are to be promoted for subscriber convenience and also for ease of doing business,” the note said.

Under the proposed process, mobile subscribers willing to change their existing mobile connection from pre-paid to postpaid or vice versa will have to send a request to their service provider through SMS, IVRS, website or authorised app.

Upon receiving the request, the subscriber will get a message acknowledging the request for conversion of the mobile account along with a unique transaction ID and an OTP which will be valid for 10 minutes.

The successful verification of the OTP will be treated as the consent of the subscriber and the telecom operator will inform him about the date and time from when the conversion will be considered effective.

“The disruption of services, if any, during the said conversion shall not exceed 30 minutes,” the DoT note said.

At present, over 90 percent of mobile subscribers are using prepaid services.

Under the proposed facility, there will be no change in the ownership of mobile connection and the SIM card will remain in the possession of the customer.

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