Telecoms hold customers to ransom for Aadhaar info

Published Jan 13, 2018, 1:24 am IST
Updated Jan 13, 2018, 2:36 am IST
The Delhi-based Bharti Airtel national communication team denied deactivation of SIMs due to Aadhaar linkage.
Representational image
 Representational image

Hyderabad: Airtel customers alleged that the telecom major is blocking SIM cards randomly and is asking for Aadhaar details to activate the same. Other telecom players like Vodafone and Idea are facing similar allegations from customers. 

Customers voiced concern on social media, and said that the service provider was blocking SIMs which were not linked to Aadhaar. In many cases, Airtel asked for the Aadhaar number to replace even faulty SIM cards.  


The Delhi-based Bharti Airtel national communication team denied deactivation of SIMs due to Aadhaar linkage. They,  however, blamed it on technical snags. 

Ms. Sangeeth Arvind Kumar, whose SIM was deactivated, said, “My SIM was blocked and when I visited the help desk at Patny Circle, I found seven more customers with the same grievance. I submitted my Aadhaar details and it was unlocked on the same day.”

Mr. Akshay Goud from Bansilalpet also went through a similar ordeal. He said, “My SIM abruptly stopped working.  The helpline staff said that it needed my Aadhaar number to activate it.”   Mr Anant Desai, a banker from Ameerpet,  added, “Even SIM replacement and a new SIM, Airtel is insisting on Aadhaar.” Many took to social media, tagging Airtel officials.   

In a statement to Deccan Chronicle, the communication team of Bharti Airtel, said, “While we have also come across such tweets, there is no such thing and there is no truth in these allegations. We do not block any SIM and neither do we force customers to link their Aadhaar. It is really disappointing to see some people using social media to malign brands. It only adds to the confusion among other customers.”

Asutosh J. G, Bengaluru
This happened with me 2 weeks ago. They said they would issue a replacement SIM for faulty one after four days since I don’t have a Aadhaar card (sic). Only after several calls and mails, they reinstated the connection.

C A Rajani Damani, Guwahati, Assam 
I have also experience this, the help center didn’t replace my sim on basis of other ID proof such a passport /pan card, they demanded Aadhaar (sic). 

Edwin Rajan, Chennai 
Yes true, My friend’s Airtel sim got disconnected when asked airtel connect showroom they are asking to link Aadhaar and buy a new sim (sic). 

Ibrahim S, Bengaluru
My Sim was blocked for 3 months before. Went to Airtel store to get it replaced. Upon replacement I refused them my aadhaar details and was told activation is instant for aadhaar and not for other proofs (sic). 

Bilal Motorwala, Mumbai
They tried to do the same thing with me, when I asked for government notification and any court order making it mandatory, the staff baffled and back tracked (sic).

Note: To all the complaints that tagged Airtel’s official handle, there has been a standard response stating, “We have not blocked any SIM due to this, kindly note, Aadhaar-based authentication is a faster SIM replacement process compared to normal paper document based process, hence we recommend Aadhaar-based SIM replacement. 

Location: India, Telangana, Hyderabad