India warns of tough telco fines

India’s telecom ministry has warned carriers it won’t pull any punches when it comes to fining telcos that fail to verify the names and addresses of their customers by a March 31 deadline.
The Department of Telecom states carriers will be fined for every subscriber not re-verified, and that the figure will escalate based on the percentage of unregistered users.
Operators found to have covered only 86% of their subscribers will face fines of 20,000 rupees (€324) per unverified customer, but the figure will fall to 1,000 rupees per head if they are found to have re-verified more than 95% of their subs base, the Economic Times reported.
The government has been threatening the action against operators since November 2009, in response to concerns that unverified mobiles had been used to plan terrorist attacks, leaving authorities unable to trace them.
Operators were originally given a year to comply with the request, but the deadline has been extended several times after carriers complained they were unable to complete the process in time.
With India having a mobile customer base of 729 million – and 15-20 million being added per month – re-verification is a sizable undertaking.