Google and Apple have taken swift action to remove two international eSIM apps, Airalo and Holafly from their Indian app stores as a response to directives from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). The ban on Airalo and Holafly both apps offering eSIM services for global telecommunications has come after the misuse of unauthorized eSIMs with international phone numbers by fraudsters engaging in cybercrimes within India.
The DoT’s order was received on 4th January as a part of the government’s initiative to curb cybercrimes facilitated by the exploitation of unauthorized eSIMs.
The DoT mandates that eSIMs can only be sold through authorized dealers who must verify customers’ identities with proof such as a passport copy or visa. The providers of eSIM services are required to obtain a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the DOT and authorized sellers are required to share details of these global SIMs with security agencies. However, the Airalo and Holafly lacked the authorization, leading to their removal.
The rise in cybercrime cases in India, as highlighted in the latest National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report, further emphasizes the significance of measures to secure digital communication. And with a 24.4% increase in cybercrime cases in 2022 compared to the previous year addressing the misuse of technology.
In response to the rise of cybercrimes facilitated by the misuse of unauthorized eSIMs, the DoT in India has issued directives to remove Airalo and Holafly from app stores. The DoT also instructed internet service providers and telecom companies to block access to the associated websites within the country.
As Apple and Google comply with regulatory directives, users are urged to exercise caution and prioritize authorized eSIM providers to safeguard against potential cyber threats. While the DoT’s actions underline the government’s commitment to foster a secure digital landscape amid the evolving challenges of cybercrimes.