Vodacom’s TOBi chatbot allows subscribers to self-RICA

Read time 2min 20sec
Jorge Mendes, Vodacom Consumer Business Unit chief officer.
Jorge Mendes, Vodacom Consumer Business Unit chief officer.

As the COVID-19 pandemic persists, Vodacom subscribers can now remotely self-RICA SIMs thanks to the telco’s chatbot TOBi.

The telco says it is in support of government’s call to stay safe during the COVID-19 lockdown, and its platforms will grant subscribers tools to help them comply with the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act (RICA).

The RICA law is meant to cut down on crimes committed using cellphones and requires anyone who owns a SIM card to have it registered with their service provider and hand in a copy of their ID document and proof of residence.

As the government-sanctioned COVID-19 lockdown continues, businesses are responding strategically to fulfil their business and legislative requirements by adopting digital innovations.

The lockdown is impacting most services, especially those that were interaction-heavy, like complying with RICA.

As a result, Vodacom says it is now adding more self-service functionalities to its chatbot TOBi, making it a convenient way to self-RICA, while observing COVID-19 lockdown social distancing requirements.

“We have simplified the process and further digitised the journey for our customers. This is yet another way we are driving a digital transformation journey for ourselves and for our customers,” says Jorge Mendes, Vodacom chief officer, Consumer Business Unit.

“Introducing self-RICA on our self-service platforms is our way of encouraging customers to perform certain functions from home in support of government’s call to stay safe and stay at home. From this lockdown period onwards, customers are able to RICA their SIMs from the comfort of their homes.”

Chatbot TOBi will assist with capturing and validating personal information against external trusted sources, including the Department of Home Affairs, biometrics and artificial intelligence (AI) – creating ultimate convenience for the customer, says Vodacom.

“TOBi has been developed to give quick and easy access to information wherever and whenever customers are in need.”

The process takes a few minutes and involves taking a picture, scanning a new prepaid SIM card, an ID document or passport for foreign nationals and then recording a video with a unique PIN as proof that you are the correct person.

Vodacom cautions that: “All these identities are compared using AI and biometrics and then verified with the Department of Home Affairs. Once verified, the customer can insert the SIM in any cellphone, where they will receive a welcome message from Vodacom with their new cellphone number.”

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