The Department of Telecom (DoT) in coordination with the telecom service providers (TSPs) and law enforcement agencies in the country have uncovered the illegal operations of 30 telecom setups that were being used for routing ISD calls in the country. Also Read - Govt warns e-commerce companies against selling wireless jammers, boosters illegally
The department said that fraudsters were using illegal telecom set-ups to route ISD calls received through internet (VoIP) illegally to domestic mobile and wireline customers in India. These illegal telecom setups primarily use internet connectivity on one side and connect to domestic mobile and landline network for distribution of call which is not allowed as per regulations and they pose a security threat to the country. They also cause a loss of revenue to the Indian government. Also Read - Parliamentary committee recommends DoT to merge MTNL with BSNL
“DoT field units in coordination with TSPs and law enforcement agencies were able to unearth operations of 30 such illegal telecom set-ups in last four months,” DoT said. Also Read - Elon Musk's Starlink will have to refund money to all Indian pre-orders
The Department of Telecom is also urging the citizens to help it crack down on similar illegal telecom setups in the country. “Members of the public are requested to report such illegal establishments to DoT’s call centre,” DoT added.
For the purpose, DoT has established call centre where citizens can report the cases of receiving any international call displaying Indian mobile or landline number. The call centre number for reporting such cases are 1800 11 0420 and 1963.
Separately, the Indian government is also planning to introduce new telecom regulations in the country by consolidating three laws — the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933 and the Telegraph Wires (Unlawful Possession) Act, 1950, into a single Indian Telecommunication Bill, 2022.
This upcoming bill is likely to come into effect in coming six to 10 months and it brings a host of changes to the existing laws. For instance, the new bill brings OTT platforms and messaging apps such as Whatsapp, and Telegram that provide voice or video calling services under its ambit. However, they will be subjected to lighter regulations than this.
Also, with the Indian Telecommunication Bill, 2022, the government has proposed to broaden the definition of telecommunication services to include OTT services, internet-based communication services and broadcasting services among others. Additionally, the draft bill includes a legal framework for preventing harassment of users from spam calls and messages among other things.