Google Restricts Access to International eSIM Apps Airalo and Holafly in India Due to Non-Compliance

Google has reportedly limited access to the apps of global eSIM providers Airalo and Holafly for users in India. The action was taken in response to non-compliance with existing telecom policies in the country. According to sources, Google has blocked downloads of Airalo and Holafly on the Google Play store in India due to a lack of the required No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for selling or renting international roaming SIM cards.

As per a Moneycontrol report, the DoT has directed both Google and Apple to restrict downloads of these apps in India, emphasizing the need for proper approvals to operate within the country. While Google has implemented the restriction, Apple is yet to follow suit.

The updated policy by the DoT, effective from January 2022, mandates that foreign operators must obtain an NOC to sell or rent international roaming SIM cards in India. By September 30, 2023, 22 providers had been granted NOCs, as per DoT records.

To secure an NOC, providers must be registered as Indian companies, demonstrate card usage outside India, and collect users’ passport copies with visas, proof of identity, and proof of address. Additionally, they are required to submit a detailed monthly report to security agencies containing customer information who were provided with SIM cards.

Several users reported being unable to download Airalo and Holafly on Android devices via the Google Play store. However, the apps remained accessible on iOS devices through the App Store. Discussions are reportedly ongoing with Apple to potentially restrict access on their smartphones in India. Gadgets 360 has sought comments from Google, Apple, and the DoT and will update the article accordingly.