Indian mobile VAS providers to come under licensing regime

Telecom Lead India: TRAI’s recommendations on application
services will bring Indian mobile VAS players under licensing regime.

Bringing application service providers under provisions
of Section 4 of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, by covering them under
Licensing through Authorization, ASPs will be able to seek interconnection with
service providers and avail of dispute resolution mechanisms available to a
licensee, TRAI said in its recommendations.

To address the issue of difficulties being faced by
application providers for allotment of short codes for launching the
application services, TRAI has recommended a framework for allocation of short
code centrally through a short code council (SCC).

The SCC will allot Short codes centrally through an
online web based system in accordance with the National Numbering Plan. Short
codes will be allotted to both ASPs and TSPs independently. This will help
independent application providers to get short codes of their choice.

In addition, TRAI has recommended definition of
application services and measures for growth of utility application services.

Application services are enhanced services, in the nature
of non-core services, which either add value to the basic teleservices or can
be provided as standalone application services through telecommunication
network, the basic services being standard voice calls, voice/non-voice
messages, fax transmission and data transmission.

TRAI recommends that following provisions for application
services should be included in the terms and conditions of existing licences as
well as in the proposed licences under unified licensing regime:

The licensee may provide application services and
additional facilities in case of any value addition or upgradation that the
technology permits subject to intimation to the licensor and TRAI about
provision of any application services or additional facility along with details
of provision made for lawful interception and monitoring of these services or
facilities at least 15 days in advance before the introduction of these
services or additional facilities;

The Licensee cannot provide any other application service
which otherwise requires a separate licence.

For allocation of Short codes to telecom service
providers/licensees and licenced application service providers/content
providers, a Short Code Council (SCC) will be set up by TRAI.

Short codes will be allotted centrally through a online
web based system in accordance with the National Numbering Plan. Short codes
will be allotted to both ASPs and TSPs independently.

Short Code Council will also centrally manage the details
of short codes allotted, type of service provided under short code, tariff for
the service and hosting details for application services, which can be used by
customers for discovering the services interactively.

Application service provider can launch the service only
after online approval by the SCC. If the ASP/TSP/content provider wishes at a
later date to run a new, modified or additional application/content on the same
short code, TSP/ASP/ content provider shall update the same online for
obtaining revised approval.

Appropriate fee, one time and recurring charges, should
be charged for allocation of common short code by Short Code Council so that
only the genuine and serious content provider/ application service
provider/entity should seek the same.

The service through allocated short code should be made
operational within three months of allocation and intimated online about the
date of operationalization of the common short code by the concerned
Application Service Provider/ entity/telecom access service provider. If no
such information is updated online within three months by TSP/ASP/content
provider for declaring the service operational, it shall be presumed that the
common short code has not been made operational and non-utilization of short
code for a period of more than three months will be subject to cancellation of
short code and reallocation to other applicants.

Telecom service providers should open the common short
code within a fortnight after the code is approved by the Short Code Council
and update this information online with Short Code Council. The orders/
directions/ regulations of DoT or TRAI, from time to time, as the case may be,
shall be applicable in this regard.

TRAI has recommended that development of application
services in Indian regional languages should be encouraged through suitable

According to TRAI, the expansion of these services will
contribute in enhancing the lifestyle and capability of customers as well as
providing an additional revenue stream of telecom service providers.

Considering the enhanced market potential for application
services due to rollout of 3G & BWA services, deployment of 4G services in
the coming years, implementation of National Broadband Plan and migration to
Next Generation Networks (NGN), need was felt to develop a suitable framework
for growth of application services.

Various application services are being provided through
telecommunication network. Newer applications and services are evolving with
changing technologies and present a great potential for growth.

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