Telcos are part of the vital infrastructure that serves as a forerunner for the rest of the industry as their digital environments change. Many major telecommunications companies have large retail infrastructures that are purpose-built to onboard new customers in shops, but the retail industry has been harmed over the years by security concerns and the demand for personal involvement at every stage of onboarding.
This influences their capacity to effectively grow their user base. Some operators frequently are unable to provide key services to new consumers because they lack online onboarding capacity for identity verification.
How Telcos Can Onboard Customers Remotely
SIM registration is necessary for several countries whenever a consumer receives a new SIM card. To prevent money laundering, each new prepaid contract must include identification verification using a government-issued picture ID.
Normally, this stage is accomplished in person, but due to the limits of a pandemic or the difficulty of operating an offline business, this is frequently not possible.
Telcos might onboard new consumers online by offering online identity verification, eliminating the present obligatory necessity for in-person verification. Not only that, but online identity verification may assist telecoms with SIM registration and better secure current customers’ accounts by utilising technology that operates more consistently and without bias.
Scaling Customer Onboarding to new locations
Instead of only selling and registering a new SIM card at a telco retail shop, telcos could offer SIM cards at kiosks and through third-party points of sale, and allow users to authenticate their identity online and remotely activate the new SIM card.
The advantage of this approach is that the telco’s onboarding capabilities are not limited by its retail infrastructure; for example, a telco with fewer than 100 retail outlets could sell SIM cards through thousands of third-party retail locations (e.g., grocery stores, gas stations) or through online SIM distribution. It’s a straightforward and practical technique to significantly expand the telco’s reach.
There is a demand for unattended kiosks to sell SIM cards 24 hours a day, seven days a week in airports and other tourist areas.
In this scenario, a visitor may buy a SIM card at an airport kiosk and then remotely
New 5G Gadgets & Services Increase the Need for Remote Sign-up
New GPS trackers and other IoT gadgets require at least a 4G connection, and most are already rolling out upgrades to accommodate 5G network connectivity and services, with some telcos selling them straight to customers.
Whether purchased at a store or online, these devices come with a fresh SIM card that must be registered. In this situation, the customer may verify their identification online using a laptop or smartphone to activate the SIM and begin using the new device right away.
The eSIM Revolution
The most recent technological advancement in SIM cards is the eSIM, a digital SIM that is implanted in the current generation of Google and Apple phones and cannot be removed.
There are a few intriguing use cases for online identity verification with eSIMs. In one instance, the remote user wishes to change service providers. However, identification verification may be required if the user is travelling overseas and want to connect to a local network momentarily to avoid roaming charges.
In any scenario, online identity verification allows consumers to remotely register the eSIM installed on their phones without visiting a retail outlet.
Managing Account Remotely
Because of the COVID-19 epidemic, consumers are increasing their use of internet services. Many individuals are booking food delivery online, preferring online choices, and seeking methods to manage their accounts remotely. Online identity verification helps carriers to onboard more people safely and confidently without the need to visit a retail shop. It enables businesses to increase their worldwide consumer base and offer more flexible services. Telcos who embrace this move as part of their own digital transformation initiatives might distinguish their services by providing better customer care and accessing new consumer groups that were previously out of reach.
In 2021, telecoms lost more than 39.89 billion USD in fraud damages due to subscription fraud, phishing assaults, robocalling, and other sorts of fraud. False identities are frequently used to create accounts, giving criminals access to additional accounts under the same subscription, such as TV, internet, and even banking accounts. Subscription or identity fraud accounts for 35% of all frauds in the telecoms business.
SIM swapping and the need for Digital Onboarding
SIM swapping is a developing problem that arises when a cybercriminal phones a cellular network provider and claims that a genuine user’s phone has been lost or stolen. The next request is that the provider activates a fresh SIM card linked to the legitimate user’s phone number on the fraudster’s phone. If they are successful, the fraudsters will get the genuine user’s text messages, phone calls, and data on the freshly activated cellphone under their control. This implies they may even take over the genuine user’s other accounts simply by requesting a verification code be provided to the device they possess. Once logged in, the possibilities are endless: fraudsters can easily transfer money from bank accounts, post offensive content on the user’s social media profiles, send fraudulent emails on the user’s behalf, and even change passwords to completely lock legitimate users out, a practice known as account takeover.
Traditional authentication mechanisms, such as two-factor authentication, cannot be relied on to confirm user identification. Because account takeover threats have climbed 31% year over year, biometric face recognition, machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI) are developing as methods to improve the online identity verification process.
With over 5 billion mobile customers and the majority of connections tied to SIM cards, 90% are active in countries where registering and using a SIM card requires confirmation of identity. The majority of SIM card activation occurs in retail locations when a customer acquires a SIM card, yet manual ID checks frequently overlook false identity documents.
Although many nations mandate mobile SIM card registration, only 11% require mobile network providers to check customers’ identifying credentials against an approved government database to validate user identity. SIM card registration is not required in the United States, increasing the possibility of fraud.
When enrolling a SIM card online, telecom providers are confronted with the difficulty of confirming customers are who they claim to be.
Adopting a current digital identity verification solution helps to avoid fraud by comparing a real-time selfie (taken with a smartphone or camera) and a photo of a government-issued ID (such as a driver’s licence) to validate the user enrolling the SIM card is who they say they are. Customers can save a trip to the retail store to have their ID confirmed and SIM card authorised by using digital ID verification methods. This strategy allows reputable clients to be onboarded more quickly and prevents fraudsters from impersonating the user while activating a SIM card.
How IDcentral can help:
Cybercriminals are posing a threat to the telecom sector and communication service providers, making it difficult to combat reverse-engineered schemes. As a result, online accounts and bank wallets are more prone to be hacked. Thus, the integrity and reputation of service providers are at stake.
IDcentral’s identity verification services are suitable for the telecommunications sector since they allow mobile service providers to authenticate clients’ true identities before accepting them on board. Using dozens of AI algorithms, our solution can authenticate with greater accuracy in less than a second. Furthermore, telecommunications service providers can utilize risk assessment reports to screen high-risk consumers.
Learn more about our Identity Verification and Customer Onboarding Solutions
Sumanth Kumar is a Digital Marketing Consultant at IDcentral (A Subex Company). With hands-on experience with all of IDcentral’s solutions, he loves to compare and create indispensable digital content.