The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has floated a consultation paper seeking to upgrade the regulatory structure around registration of other service providers (OSPs), offering services such as tele-banking, tele-medicine, tele-education, ecommerce, call centre, and other IT-enabled services.
Through the paper issued Friday, the regulator has sought industry views on multiple aspects - from the validity of such registration to the charges, connectivity, interconnectivity aspects and even security conditions.
Trai sought stakeholder views on whether the definition of the application service in context of OSPs need to be changed and “Whether, the Application Services which are purely based on data/ internet should be covered under Application Service for the purpose of defining OSP.”
The paper said that as per current definition, an OSP is a company providing application services such as tele-banking, tele-medicine, tele-education, tele-trading, ecommerce, call centre, network operation centre and other IT enabled services by using telecom resources or infrastructure provided by licenced telecom operators.
Trai also sought to know if any other regulatory framework – rather than the current registration process for a fee - be adopted for OSPs so that the purpose of registration specified by government is met.
The paper comes in the backdrop of the Department of Telecommunication’s (DoT) reference last September seeking a recommendation from Trai on the matter. In a letter to the regulator last year, DoT had highlighted that time had come to devise a technology neutral framework so as to promote innovations for setting up the OSP service delivery platform in the most cost-efficient manner, for faster promotion of these service providers in the country.
However, when contacted, a senior Trai official said the idea wasn’t to increase the ambit of regulation around new apps or internet-based services, including ecommerce players, but simply to upgrade the regulatory structure around OSPS making it more contemporary.
Trai is in the midst of a separate consultation paper on whether to regulate apps that provide communication services, such as WhatsApp and Skype. The regulator is set to come out with its recommendations shortly.
The 58-pages consultation paper posed over 30 questions to examine the existing procedure of OSP registration. The authority has sought written comments on the paper by April 29, and counter comments by May 13.
“In view of the vast changes in technology and evolution of different networking architectures and solutions for setting up of OSP network and evolution of new user applications and service delivery scenarios, a need has been felt by DoT to review the technical, financial and regulatory requirements, scope of operations and the terms and conditions of registrations of OSPs in a comprehensive and holistic manner,” Trai said.
Among other questions, Trai asked, “Do you agree with the existing procedure of OSP registration for single/ multiple OSP centres? If not, please suggest suitable changes with justification...Do you agree with the existing provisions of determination of dormant OSPs and cancellation of their registration?”
It has also sought stakeholders' views on provisions of logical separation of Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and Public Land Mobile Network (PLMN) network resources with that of leased line for domestic OSP.