Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are using more and more technology, especially our mobile devices, to communicate with friends and colleagues.
Telecommunications companies are part of the critical infrastructure that makes this change possible.
Even if our online activity has increased as has our use of telecommunications, there are some areas where telecommunications companies are suffering.
Many of the established telecommunications companies have large retail infrastructures specially designed to integrate new users into stores. However, the retail sector has been affected by global lockdowns.
T-Mobile announced in March that it would close about 80% of its stores, while Verizon announced around the same time that it would close its stores on Sundays, reduce hours on other days, and reduce the number of employees and customers in those stores would limit shops. This obviously affects their ability to effectively grow their user base. Some operators are often unable to provide essential services to new customers because they do not have online onboarding capabilities for identity verification.
How telecommunications companies can remotely engage customers
In many countries, SIM registration is required when a new SIM card is made available to a customer. In this case, identity verification by government-issued photo ID is required for each new prepaid contract to prevent money laundering.
Usually this identity verification step is completed in person, but often not possible under COVID-19 restrictions.
By enabling online identity verification, telecommunications companies can add new users online without the current need for personal verification. But even after the COVID-19 bans have been lifted, online identity verification can help telecommunications companies with SIM registration and better protect the accounts of existing users.
Engage new customers in more locations and in different ways
Instead of selling and registering a new SIM card exclusively in a telecommunications store, telecommunications companies should also sell SIM cards at kiosks and third-party sales outlets, allowing customers to verify their identity online and remotely assign the new SIM card activate.
The benefit of this approach is that the telecommunications company’s onboarding capabilities are not limited by its retail infrastructure, and a telecommunications company with fewer than 100 retail stores can sell SIM cards through thousands of third-party retail locations (e.g., grocery stores, gas stations) or via Online SIM distribution. This is a simple and practical way to significantly increase the range of the telecommunications company.
At airports and other places with a high tourist presence, SIM cards have to be sold around the clock through unsupervised kiosks. Wavetec, for example, does it. In this case, a tourist could buy the SIM card at an airport kiosk and later register the SIM card remotely using a simple online identity verification process.
New 4G devices and services increase the need for remote login
GPS trackers and other Internet of Things (IoT) devices require 4G network connectivity and services, and some telecommunications companies are selling them direct to consumers.
Regardless of whether these devices are purchased in retail stores or online, a new SIM card is included and must be registered. In this case, the user can verify their identity online with a laptop or smartphone to activate the SIM card and use the new gadget immediately.
The eSIM revolution
The latest technical development in SIM cards is the eSIM, a digital SIM card that is embedded in the latest generation of Google and Apple phones and cannot be removed from the device.
There are some interesting use cases for online identity verification with eSIMs. In one case, the remote user wants to switch service provider. However, verification of identity may also be justified if the user is traveling abroad and wants to temporarily connect to a local network to avoid roaming charges.
Either way, online identity verification enables users to remotely register the eSIM embedded in their phones without having to go to a retail location.
Oh the places we can go
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers are taking the use of online services to a new level. Many people schedule grocery deliveries online and prefer online options. You’re looking for ways to remotely manage accounts.
Online identity verification enables telecommunications companies to safely and securely get more users on board without visiting a retail store. This enables them to expand their global customer base and to make the services they offer more flexible. Telecommunications companies using this change as part of their own digital transformation efforts can differentiate their service by providing better customer service and reaching new customer segments that were historically beyond their reach.
By Roberto Colecchia, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Jumio
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