BSNL, Airtel, Jio Penalized For Not Stopping Paytm Scam; BSNL #1 In Fraud Cases!
The telcos like BSNL and MTNL, Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea are slapped with penalties by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) as they did not respond appropriately to a show-cause notice issued due to failure in block phishing activities on their networks.
Huge Penalties On Telcos
The TRAI has imposed penalties worth Rs 35 crore on these telcos for allowing fake text messages on their networks, which were allegedly used to dupe customers.
Apart from these firms, other companies including Videocon, Quadrant Teleservices and Tata Teleservices are also fined.
Trai has fined Vodafone Idea Ltd, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) and Tata Teleservices in a case pertaining to One97 Communications Ltd, which is the parent of fintech company Paytm.
One97 had appealed to the Delhi High Court against telcos including Trai and the Centre.
As they were not blocking those who were defrauding its customers by phishing activities over mobile networks.
Highest Penalties On BSNL
According to this order, Trai imposed the highest Rs 30.1 crore fine on state-owned BSNL.
The telco also failed to respond to Trai show-cause notices, despite of many reminders, TRAI mentioned.
Over 60-70% of the fraudulent messages and phishing attempts to customers have been on the BSNL network, as per the details provided by industry officials.
Penalties On Other Telcos
Further, the regulator imposed Rs 1.82 crore fine on Vi; Rs 1.41 crore on Quadrant; and Rs 1.33 crore on Airtel.
Trai said, “As per regulation 27 of Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations (TCCCPR), 2018, the Authority (Trai) may impose financial disincentives on any access provider if it fails to curb Unsolicited Commercial Communication (UCC) through its network,” in the affidavit filed on Monday.
Although, the regulator has to give sufficient time to telecom operators to block phishing activities on their networks before imposing the penalty on telecom operators.
In case of BSNL, a show-cause notice was issued twice to comply with the UCC guidelines.
For other telcos, they were asked on 1 October, on failure, both BSNL and other telcos attracted the penalty by UCC.
A Big Massage To Telcos
According to a senior lawyer, “Trai is finally implementing the regulation on TCCCPR for violations which have continued in months of April to June. If this was implemented in the first case, the penalties wouldn’t have to be imposed. In the long term, this is good for Indian customers who are annoyed by unsolicited communication from telemarketers,”.
Trai is giving “a big message” to telcos, through these penalties, he added.
One97 Communications did not respond to the queries until press time.