On 23 June 2021, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) released revised guidelines for Other Service Providers (New Guidelines), which further simplify and supersede the guidelines issued on 5 November 2020 (2020 Guidelines).
The Other Service Providers (OSP) framework had undergone a progressive overhaul with the release of the 2020 Guidelines last year. The 2020 Guidelines limited the applicability of the OSP framework to only 'voice based business process outsourcing (BPO) services', and did away with many onerous obligations such as the need to obtain a registration and furnishing a bank guarantee. Other relaxations in relation to infrastructure sharing, interconnection of OSPs, and work from home were also introduced. Our update on the 2020 Guidelines can be accessed here.
In this update we summarise the key changes introduced by the New Guidelines.
1. New definitions
While the 2020 Guidelines clarified that the OSP framework applied only to entities providing voice based BPO services, there was still uncertainty regarding what constituted such services. The New Guidelines define 'voice based BPO services' to mean call centre services provided by OSPs to customers both in and outside India, where calls are made by or to a customer through Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN)/ Public Land Mobile Network (PLMN)/Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) (Public Network). This is a significant change from the previous regime which sought to regulate both Public Network and Voice over internet protocol (VOIP).
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