The Union Minister for Electronics & Information Technology has further liberalized the guidelines for Other Service Providers (OSPs).
The new rules do away with the registration requirement for OSPs, with such BPOs that are engaged only in data work have been taken out of the category of OSPs altogether.
Why did Other Service Providers (OSPs) require to register themselves in India?
- OSPs or other service providers are companies or firms which provide secondary or tertiary services such as telemarketing, telebanking or telemedicine for various companies, banks or hospital chains, respectively.
- As computers made their foray into the Indian information technology space, a number of such OSPs, which were either voice or non-voice based, came into the market. The sector required minimal investment but gave great returns in business, which prompted a large number of individuals and companies to float other service providing firms.
- Since most of these firms used leased telephone lines, which in turn used the telecom spectrum auctioned by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), the new telecom policy of 1999 suggested that all OSPs register themselves so that the government could keep a check on the usage of its resources.
- Further, the registration was also made mandatory to ensure that firms did not establish fake OSPs which swindled customers under the garb of providing telebanking and other such sensitive services.
In November 2020, Other Service Providers (OSP) guidelines were liberalized as following:-
- Data related OSPs were totally taken out of ambit of any regulation
- No Bank Guarantees
- No requirement of static IP
- No requirement of reporting to the DoT
- No requirement of publication of Network Diagram
- No penalties
- Made Work from Anywhere a reality
The main features of the liberalised guidelines announced today are :-
- Distinction between Domestic and International OSPs has been removed. A BPO centre with common Telecom resources will now be able to serve customers located worldwide including in India.
- EPABX (Electronic Private Automatic Branch Exchange) of the OSP can be located anywhere in the world. OSPs apart from utilising EPABX services of the Telecom Service Providers can also locate their EPABX at third Party Data Centres in India.
- With the removal of the distinction between Domestic and International OSP centres, the interconnectivity between all types of OSP centres is now permitted.
- Remote Agents of OSP can now connect directly with the Centralised EPABX/ EPABX of the OSP/ EPABX of the customer using any technology including Broadband over wireline/ wireless.
- No restriction for data interconnectivity between any OSP centres of same company or group company or any unrelated company.
- It may be recalled that DoT has already exempted Data Based Services from the OSP regulations. In addition, the regulations exempted OSPs from requirement of any registration. Also, no Bank Guarantees were to be furnished. Work from Home and Work from Anywhere was also permitted.
- Penalties for violations were removed altogether reaffirming the trust Government has in business.
- Further liberalization of Guidelines today will provide a big fillip for growth of OSP industry in India. This will create immense opportunities, income and employment in India.
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