Telecom regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has held that operators would be liable for any non-compliance to rules by third-party vendors like websites and apps for issues related to bill payment and recharges.
In its guidelines, Trai said that as third-party entities like websites and applications are non-licenced entities and are appointed by telecom service providers, operators are responsible for ensuring compliance of regulatory norms.
Since Channel Partner(s) and sub Channel Partner(s) are non-licensed entities and appointed by telecom service providers (TSPs) based on mutually agreed terms and conditions, all responsibilities for ensuring compliance of terms and conditions of the license agreement and other regulatory guidelines shall remain with the TSP, Trai said.
At present, there are many mobile applications and websites like Freecharge, Mobikwik, Oxigen that facilitate mobile recharge and bill payment facilities as channel partner of telecom companies.
Trai said that the agreement between operators and sub-channel partner should incorporate clauses on subscriber relations, attending subscriber grievances, recharge process and tariff updation apart from other technical requirements.
The regulator said that there exists a possibility of time gap between telecom operators, channel partners and sub-channel partners in updating the information on the day of tariff product launch or revision, which may cause inconsistency and subscribers may not get perceived benefits.
A mechanism should be introduced by the TSP(s) where a new tariff product or any change in any tariff product is updated concurrently on Channel Partner(s) App(s)/website(s). Only after ensuring updation of tariff product(s) on Channel Partner(s), tariff product should be made live for the subscribers, Trai said.
The regulator has also said that any new tariff product or any change in existing tariff product should be made live only at midnight, between midnight and 0200 hours on the date of the launch or change in tariff product.