Prepaid mobile services in Jammu & Kashmir and the northeastern states will be allowed to continue for two more years from Wednesday in a decision on Monday by the government that will benefit the existing 33 million subscribers there.
The licence of the telecom operators for providing prepaid services in these areas expires on Tuesday.
A high-level committee headed by Union home secretary LC Goyal discussed the matter after which it was decided to give the nod for continuance of these pre-paid services, official sources said.
The home ministry, while granting permission, reiterated to the service providers that they have to maintain utmost precaution in issuing SIM cards and ensure proper verification.
J&K shares borders with Pakistan while most of the northeastern states share international borders with countries like China, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Bhutan.
Of the roughly 35 million telecom subscribers in the three circles of J&K, Assam and north east, about 33 million have opted for prepaid services.
Telecom companies offering services on the GSM and CDMA technology platform had permission to continue the same in these sensitive regions till March 31.
In 2009, the department of telecom had banned prepaid mobile phone services in these regions on grounds of national security.
The ban was withdrawn the next year but the department tightened the verification process for new customers and ordered re-verification of existing subscribers.
Prepaid SIM cards issued in these three regions will, however, continue to remain non-operational outside their telecom circles and, similarly, prepaid numbers issued outside these circles will not be operational in these areas. (Agencies)