Call centers in India have had to obtain a registration under the telecom Other Service Provider (“OSP”) category. On November 5, 2020, the Department of Telecommunications, Government of India, issued the ‘New Guidelines for Other Service Providers' ("New Guidelines"). The New Guidelines have been introduced with a view to reduce the compliance requirements applicable to OSPs and replace the ‘Terms and Conditions – Other Service Provider Category' (“Old Terms”) which were in force since 2008.
Below are some key highlights from the New Guidelines:
- No Registration: OSPs are no longer required to obtain a registration to operate in India.
- Interconnectivity allowed: Interconnectivity between domestic OSP centres of the same group company has been permitted. Similarly, interconnectivity among international OSP centres is also allowed.
- Sharing Infrastructure: Sharing of infrastructure between domestic OSPs and international OSPs is now allowed.
- Remote Working: ‘Work from Home' has been extended to ‘Work from anywhere in India'. OSPs should ensure that system-logs are tamper proof and the call detail records (“CDRs”)/ all logs of the activities carried out remotely are maintained for a period of one year.
- Overseas EPABX: EPABX in a foreign location is now allowed for International OSPs. Such OSPs must take measures to comply with Indian laws including data privacy laws and maintain a copy of CDRs and system logs at any of its OSP centres in India for a period of one year.
- Interconnection with PSTN: International OSPs can carry aggregated switched voice traffic from their overseas points of presence to their OSP centers in India. Collection, conversion, carriage and exchange of PSTN traffic over VPN interconnecting with different OSP centers is permissible.
- Law Enforcement Requests: If the EPABX is installed at different locations, remote access of all CDRs, access log, configurations of EPABX and routing tables must be made available on demand from the telecom authority/law enforcement agencies. OSPs are also required to support the telecom authority in tracing any nuisance, obnoxious or malicious calls, messages or communications transported through its equipment and network.
- Other Compliances: Requirements such as furnishing of annual returns, providing bank guarantees for any facility or dispensation, and penal provisions under the Old Terms have been done away with.
- Continued Telecom Service Restrictions: ILDO bypass is still prohibited, and OSPs must not provide any telecom services.
The New Guidelines supersede the Old Terms with immediate effect.
You can access the New Guidelines here.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.