Give contact center service providers their due
Voice and Data|February 2021
Time is ripe for the DoT to define clear guidelines for the third-party contact centers in India. Any further delay will impact services in several vital sectors
BALBIR BORA

In November 2020, the Department of Telecom (DoT) in India decided to drastically simplify the Other Service Provider (OSP) guidelines. Firstly, the registration requirement for OSPs was done away with and the BPO industry engaged in data related work has been taken out of the ambit of OSP regulations. In addition, requirements such as deposit of bank guarantees, requirement of static IPs for work from home (WFH), frequent reporting obligations, publication of network diagram, penal provisions, etc. have also been removed.

Experts believe that the new framework would provide a strong impetus to India’s IT and ITeS industry and will make India one of the most competitive ITeS jurisdictions in the world.

As on today, there are numerous global and local thirdparty Contact Center Service Providers that are servicing this growing outsourcing industry. This is a big business in India with multiple kinds of customers being serviced by these omnichannel platforms. Yet, there is no suitable category of DoT license or framework for these service providers. All of these operators are unregulated by the DoT and despite being a big business it is in the grey area unless the department comes out with new rules for the Hosted Contact Center business.

The regulatory outlook

In their recommendation paper on ‘Review of T&C for Other Service Provider (OSPs)’ and subsequent exchanges with DoT in 2019 and 2020, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) addressed the matter of third-party contact centers in India and recommended a regulatory framework for this category of service providers to DoT.

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