India's Latest e-KYC Policy for Sim Cards 2018- All You Need to know !

For a long time, KYC and Aadhaar verification has been a pebble in the shoe for those looking to buy a functional Sim card in India and has caused a great deal of frustration and inconvenience, specially for tourists trying acquire a local Sim card for their stay.
Until recently, the Indian Government required an ‘Aadhar card’ verification before issuing any sim card. An Aadhar card, along with a unique Aadhar identification code for each individual, is best described as being similar to the Social Security Number system employed by the USA. Only a person of Indian nationality can be issued an Aadhaar card. Therein lies the bane of many foreign travellers who, by virtue of not having an Aadhaar number, have to virtually jump through hoops in order to obtain a working Indian Sim Card for voice calling and internet data.

In October, 2018, India’s Department of Telecommunication announced that Aadhar verification is no longer required to obtain an Indian Sim Card. This should have been a cause of celebration for travel enthusiasts and tourists. Furthermore, the promotion of the eKYC process (digital verification) should have had us ecstatic, right? At a glance, one would think so but looking closely, there isn’t much to be too happy about . Despite how much better it may sound in theory, the process for buying a new sim card hasn’t become any simpler.

What is e-KYC ?

KYC means “Know Your Customer”. It’s process by which regulating authorities ( Telecom Service Providers, Banks etc.) obtain information about the identity and address of the customers. This process helps to ensure that services are not misused. The KYC procedure is to be completed by service providers while opening accounts. e-KYC refers to an alternative digital process introduced by the Department of Telecommunications.
Generally an identity proof with photograph and an address proof are the two basic mandatory KYC documents that are required to establish one’s identity. As mentioned, until recently, an Aadhaar card and Aadhaar number ( Unique Identification Number) were also required as KYC documents.

What e-KYC Means for Foreigners/Tourists

The latest direction issued by the Department of Telecommunication, allows for fulfilment of E-KYC without a government issued Aadhaar number. This new provision, coupled with the term ‘E-KYC’ has led to some ambiguity.

Taken at face value, ‘ e-KYC’ suggests an electronic or digital method for submitting pertinent documents via the internet in order to fulfill the KYC requirements needed to buy a local sim card.
To help clarify the new regulation, the process for e-KYC is outlined below -

  1. The Entire process of eKYC verification will be undertaken by Licensees ( shops that sell sim cards) through authorised and official apps.
  2. e-KYC is done at Points of Sale or shops.
  3. Perhaps the most important omission in discussions about the new eKYC process is that a potential customer must be physically present at the Point of Sale ( PoS) or shop, where an Officially Valid Document for identification must be furnished. For example, an original and valid passport or a Driver’s License .
  4. At the Sim Card store, the merchant or shopkeeper Will take a live photo of the customer, that shall be embedded in a Client Acquisition Form ( C.A.F) by the storeowner. Further, this live photo of the customer shall be watermarked and must be geo tagged. i.e. include GPS coordinates along with time and date. These details are then embedded in the CAF by the shopkeeper, and sent to the regulatory telecom body for verification.
  5. Once a person’s KYC details are verified, that customer will be given access to an operating sim card.

Evidently, the process of e-KYC is still tedious and quite inconvenient for a foreign visitor trying to buy a local sim card. Luckily, there is a virtually hassle free alternative!

Meet Trabug! -

Trabug offers a smartphone and a wifi device powered by a 4G data connection. Both the devices are available to foreigners travelling to India on a rental basis. Trabug is designed by and for travellers. It is for anyone visiting India. Whether you are travelling for business, leisure or to meet family and friends, Trabug provides a hassle free experience of staying connected in a foreign country.

The Mobile Phone:

  1. You can rent a full smartphone with a functional 4G sim at a rental price of per day which would be hassle free as you don’t have to buy a new use and throw phone and a separate SIM card and can avoid those costs completely.
  2. The plans offered on the phone can be viewed on the site. There’s a good variety to choose from but not too much to confuse you either.
  3. International roaming costs for other service providers are generally high whereas the international roaming costs are almost even less than $4 a day for people who stay for longer durations.
  4. Evidently, Trabug definitely saves you both time and money and gives a lot more than just a temporary mobile number India. Don’t take just our word for it, read our customer reviews and testimonials

Why is it worth it?

  1. Your personal phone may not work while in India because the GSM band might not be not compatible or you might be locked to your home network. So, to have a working phone in India, a visiting tourist may need to buy a new Indian cell phone which, bundled with voice and data packages would cost you upto a few hundred dollars. . Trabug saves you that big amount as it is a rental service with consumer friendly pricing!
  2. The phone is sleek and attractive, with a 5-inch high-resolution screen and comes in lovely packaging. The battery lasts longer than an Indian wedding, which honestly a life saver.
  3. The mobile phone rental is charged on a daily basis.
  4. The phone is delivered at your hotel/hostel and is picked up from whatever place you leave it at. For e.g. It can be ordered in Delhi and left for return at Mumbai. Our pick up team handles the rest! For more info, check out our FAQ Page

Useful Features

  1. The phone comes with reliable information about places to visit, eat, stay at, it is like a guide to new places.
  2. It can be used to book a cab with a preinstalled Uber/Ola app.
  3. The internet plans are astonishingly great! . While booking a cab or going through the pre installed social media apps (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, WhatsApp, Skype, IRCTC App, Google Maps), there’s hardly any lag at all.
  4. One can create a hotspot from the Trabug phone and connect as many as 5 devices. So, no internet hassles for the iPad or the laptop or a personal phone.
  5. The phone is very helpful, packed with audio tours and currency exchange services .
  6. One can even use personal services on the phone without being concerned about privacy as you get to checkout and wipe off all the personal data once you are ready to return it.
  7. Most importantly, one can access the emergency information about police, hospitals, embassies, based on location anytime anywhere.

How To get Wifi In India?

Now, if you ask, is there Wifi in India? Yes. But is it everywhere? No.
In India, there are a lot of cafes & restaurants which offer free wifi but the OTP or One Time Password to activate these Wifis is sent to your Indian Sim Card. No Sim card therefore also implies no OTP and hence no internet! Most cities in India also unfortunately, do not have free wifi zones.Therefore to use internet; you remain confined to your hotel rooms or airports that is if they also do not have the Indian OTP system.
Therefore, along with a rental mobile phone, you might want to consider a mobile wifi rental in India.

The Pocket Wifi Device by Trabug

This is a small convenient pocket sized device to be used as a portable wifi device in India and that you can rent on per day basis. The device gives you access to high speed internet (4G) and lets you connect upto 10 devices. It is handy and lasts upto 6 hours after 1 full charge. It can be charged again using a regular USB android cord. It comes with a companion app.
For pricing, plans and more information; visit https://www.trabug.com/pricing/