The Indian government has issued a directive extending permission for the use of pre-paid mobile voice services in the Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) circle for a further twelve months, according to the Economic Times. Under existing legislation permission for the use of such services had been due to expire on 23 February 2010, and following the extension pre-paid connections will be allowed until 22 February 2011. The decision follows a review of those mobile operators which offer services in the region with a view to ensuring that correct customer verification processes are being followed. Security concerns over the use of mobiles for terrorist purposes has long been an issue in the circle, with the Ministry of Home Affairs enacting a temporary ban on pre-paid connections in November 2009; the ban was lifted in January 2010.
Under the terms of the permission extension a number of conditions have been set, including: that the validity of SIM cards will not be beyond 22 February 2011; that recharge of SIMs cannot be done for more than three months at a time; that recharge of SIMs within last three months of expiry of permission will not have validity beyond 22 February 2011; that no pre-activated SIMs may be sold; that SIM cards will have no roaming facility outside J&K; and that service providers can appoint franchises only after seeking clearance from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).