Telecom operators in India face the heat yet again from Trai as the regulator slaps around Rs 35 crore penalty for allowing cybercriminals to send fake SMSes to the subscribers which led to digital payment frauds. The top telcos have distorted the volume of spam calls and messages on their networks, says Trai according to ET Telecom. The highest penalty of Rs 30.1 crore was levied on the government-owned BSNL. These fake and spam SMSes allowed cybercriminals to cheat digital payment users. Digital payments in India is currently on the rise and such malicious SMSes are bothering the customers.
Airtel, Vi and Other Telcos Gets Penalised by Trai
The top four telecom operators in India- Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and BSNL are penalised by Trai. The sector regulator says the latest penalties imposed are due to violation of Telecom Commercial Communication Customer Preference Regulation. This news is reported by ET Telecom as the publication managed to access penalty documents.
As noted, BSNL received the highest penalty of Rs 30.1 crore. The report also says the state-run telco received the highest penalty because it violated Trai's norms and also did not respond to the show-cause notices sent by the regulator. BSNL did not submit the performance-monitoring reports either. Private telcos Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel and Quadrant receive 1.82 crore, 1.33 crore and 1.41 crore penalties respectively. Reliance Jio also received a penalty from the Trai, but the amount was not disclosed in the report. State-run MTNL, Videocon and Tata Teleservices are also part of the list.
Digital payment companies are already fighting against the telecom industry at the Delhi High Court saying that the telcos are careless in handling the spam SMSes aspect which is allowing fraudsters to confuse the users of the digital payments. Paytm is leading the charge. A lot of customers complain to Paytm on social media platforms regarding the spam SMSes received by them to change the Paytm account password, asking for OTP and more.
The Delhi High Court earlier asked Trai to look into the matter and take necessary action. A major penalty on top telcos means the battle at the Delhi High Court might swing in favour of digital payment companies.
BSNL and other telcos are yet to respond to Trai's new penalties, but they might reply to the regulator in the coming weeks.