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eKYC: Enabling Frictionless Subscriber Onboarding for MVNOs

September 25, 2023

Deepak Gusain   

Deepak Gusain, Global Head – Sales & Solutions Mobility & Internet of Things, Tata Communications

For Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs), the ability to onboard customers seamlessly is key to gaining a competitive edge. In this article, Deepak Gusain, Global Head – Sales & Solutions, Mobility and IoT at Tata Communications, explores how MVNOs are incorporating eKYC (Electronic Know Your Customer) to onboard customers digitally and how this is shaping the future of the industry.

The concept of Know Your Customer (KYC) dates to the early 1990s. KYC involves procedures to verify the identity, suitability, and risks involved with customers. Document and picture capturing used to be completely manual, with a lot of back-office work. ​This resulted in processes being extremely slow and backlogs being created, which had a significant impact on institutions which heavily relied on KYC for vetting customers.​

Through digital transformation, the KYC process has evolved to become more robust and sophisticated. Moving away from a paper-based approach and embracing a digital-first approach resulted in biometric verification, AI and ML based document verification and other innovations drastically decreasing the time required to conduct a KYC check for customers. ​

The most noteworthy impact of eKYC, perhaps even more than the enhanced customer experience and convenience, is the greatly improved security that the eKYC process affords. With identity proofing through customer unique document and knowledge possession (two factor authentication) and biometric authentication, KYC has never been more secure. In the past, KYC processes were often standalone procedures that were conducted separately from other business processes. Today, many businesses are integrating their KYC processes with their overall risk management strategies.

Understanding MVNOs

Before delving into the specifics of eKYC and digital onboarding, it’s important to understand the MVNO landscape. MVNOs are companies or entities that provide wireless communication services without owning the physical infrastructure of a mobile network. Instead, they lease network access and services from existing mobile network operators (MNOs) to help businesses launch their mobile services. From traditional mobile services to IoT and eSIM based services, today’s MVNOs are looking to offer differentiated customer experiences to serve the changing needs of the customers. They are often known for offering competitive pricing, specialized plans, and flexible services to niche markets.

The Need for Efficient Onboarding

With the growing need for secure remote onboarding and eSIM activation services, efficient customer onboarding has become critical for MVNOs success for several reasons:

  • Competitive Advantage: In a highly competitive market, MVNOs need to differentiate themselves by offering a seamless and user-friendly onboarding experience.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Compliance with regulations, including anti-money laundering, identity verification and data protection, is paramount in this industry.
  • Cost Reduction: Streamlining the onboarding process reduces operational costs and allows MVNOs to focus on growth.

eKYC: The Game-Changer

Electronic Know Your Customer (eKYC) is a technology-driven process that enables businesses to verify the identity of their customers digitally. For MVNOs, eKYC offers several key benefits:

  • Swift Verification: eKYC enables real-time identity verification, reducing the time it takes to onboard a new customer. This speed is crucial in attracting and retaining customers in today’s fast-paced world.
  • Enhanced Security: Digital identity verification is more secure than traditional paper-based methods. It helps MVNOs protect against fraud and ensures that only legitimate customers gain access to their services.
  • Compliance: eKYC solutions can be tailored to meet regulatory requirements, helping MVNOs stay in compliance with data protection and telecom regulations.
  • Convenience: Customers appreciate the convenience of digital onboarding, eliminating the need to visit physical stores or submit paper documents.

How MVNOs can enhance customer onboarding experience

As the telecommunications industry continues to evolve, MVNOs that embrace eKYC and digital onboarding will gain a competitive edge. By offering a frictionless onboarding experience, MVNOs can attract and retain customers more effectively, comply with regulations, and reduce operational costs.

Implementing digital onboarding with eKYC involves several key steps:

  • Customer Registration: Prospective customers provide their information online.
  • Document Verification: Customers upload identity documents (e.g., passport, driver’s license), which are then verified electronically.
  • Biometric Verification: Facial recognition and biometric data can be used to further validate the customer’s identity.
  • Background Checks: MVNOs can conduct background checks to assess the creditworthiness of customers.
  • SIM Card Activation: Once verified, customers can receive their SIM cards and activate their services digitally.

However, it is important that MVNOs find the right eKYC partner — as local regulations are fragmented and vary in each country. Not all providers have “one-size fits all” solution to fulfil all KYC requirements.

Introducing Tata Communications MOVE eKYC Hub

Given the relevance and importance of eKYC, Tata Communications provides eKYC Hub for global coverage and ease of integration. Part of the Tata Communications MOVETM portfolio, the eKYC Hub makes the identification and verification process as easy as capturing ID image and taking a selfie, supported by pre-defined workflows and business processes. The eKYC HUB makes sure that the clients/customer are who they claim to be.

An MVNO can leverage eKYC Hub single interface to offer global eKYC coverage for its local and/or global use cases. With ease of integration, an MVNO can focus on customer experience and deliver a unified global experience.

Customers can get onboarded in a few simple steps from anywhere in the world.

In an era where digital transformation is reshaping industries, MVNOs cannot afford to overlook the importance of efficient onboarding processes. eKYC and digital onboarding simplify the customer acquisition process, while ensuring security and compliance. By harnessing these technologies, MVNOs can position themselves for success in an increasingly competitive market.

To learn more about how Tata Communications is helping drive mobile-enabled IoT and MVNO growth, click here.