MNOs Launch Biometric Onboarding Systems in India

Airtel and Vodafone have launched new biometric enrollment systems for mobile subscribers in India. They’re linked to Aadhaar, the country’s national biometric ID program that is used for an increasing number of authentication applications across the country.

MNOs Launch Biometric Onboarding Systems in IndiaDeveloped in collaboration with Safran Security & Identity (formerly Morpho), Airtel’s system has gone live in its stores in Delhi, and the company says it will be rolled out across the country in the coming days. Vodafone, meanwhile will launch its own system on Wednesday, and aims to bring it to all of its stores in India next month.

The idea is to verify subscribers’ identities via Aadhaar-based biometric authentication, rather than the usual documentation, in order to make the mobile subscription process faster and easier. Announcing Airtel’s deployment, a company executive explained that with the new system, “[a] customer can now walk into an Airtel store and walk out with an active mobile connection in a matter of a few minutes.”

It should also help to make the process more secure, ensuring that individuals aren’t able to register for SIMs under assumed identities. While this security benefit is central to mandatory biometric enrollment initiatives for mobile subscribers in countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh, in Airtel and Vodafone’s cases in India, the emphasis is on customer convenience, with Aadhaar helping to smooth out administrative processes in a wide variety of other contexts, as well.

Sources: The Indian Express, The Times of India

August 22, 2016 – by Alex Perala