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Govt gives 2-yr extension to pre-paid mobile services in J-K, Assam, NE


New Delhi: Government today granted a two- year extension to the 33 million pre-paid mobile services in Jammu and Kashmir and the northeastern states, including Assam.

The licence of the pre-paid services in these areas expires on March 31.

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 to 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 Northeast, about 33 million are pre-paid subscribers.

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 pre-paid 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The ban was withdrawn the next year but the department tightened the verification process for new customers and ordered re-verification of existing subscribers.

Pre-paid SIM cards issued in these three regions will, however, continue to remain non-operational outside their telecom circles and, similarly, pre-paid numbers issued outside these circles will not be operational in these areas.

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