The government has begun a crackdown on unauthorised Internet telephony, through which small call centres access global service providers while escaping regulatory scrutiny, in the process denying government a share of revenues.
From the start of this month, the government has mandated that call centres catering to both domestic and international clients must register themselves with the Vigilance Telecom Monitoring (VTM) Cell in the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
VTM units, which are equipped to monitor voice traffic, will be able to police call centres and business process outsourcing (BPO) units that use Internet telephony services not authorised by the government.
The VTM Cell is the field arm of DoT and monitors telecom traffic to stop illegal carriage and also supervises the quality of service being provided by telecom or Internet service providers.
“Internet telephony service providers who provide connectivity to many BPOs in India are still not covered by Indian laws or fall within the territorial jurisdiction of the government of India. These are not just small BPOs, but include even larger ones,” said a DoT official.
Industry executives say about 30 million minutes of international long-distance telephony are lost every month because of unauthorised Internet telephony and nearly all of them involve BPO units. The government gets six per cent of the annual gross revenues of authorised providers and in effect foregoes revenues from those who provide such services outside government regulations.