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Apple and Google remove two eSIM apps in India following government action

Google and Apple have removed two eSIM apps, Airalo and Holafly, from their app stores following orders from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to crack down on cyber fraud in India.

To operate in India, foreign apps selling SIM cards are required to obtain a no-objection certificate (NoC) from the DoT. However, the Singapore-based Airalo and Spain-based Holafly were offering eSIMs (digital SIM) in India without the necessary approval, allowing users to obtain a connection rapidly and connect to a mobile network at their destination.




Department Of Telecommunications: Google removes two int'l eSIM services  apps from Play Store in India after DoT's orders, ET Telecom
Department Of Telecommunications: Google removes two int’l eSIM services apps from Play Store in India after DoT’s orders, ET Telecom

In addition to removing these apps from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store, the DoT has instructed internet service providers and telecom companies to block the websites associated with these apps in India, according to a report from Economic Times.

The government has highlighted the exploitation of a loophole involving unauthorized eSIMs, enabling fraudsters with international numbers to deceive individuals in India through cybercrime.

While Airalo and Holafly have been banned, other eSIM apps like Nomad eSIM and aloSIM remain available. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) reported a significant increase in cybercrime cases in Delhi in 2022, and this trend is anticipated to continue in 2024 as cybercriminals increasingly leverage advanced AI technology.

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