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Extend licensing conditions to apps offering messaging and calling services, say telcos

India’s telecom operators are urging the Centre to extend licensing conditions applicable to them to apps offering messaging and calling services, following the rise in unsolicited calls from international numbers on Whatsapp. In fact, recent incidents of scammers targeting Indians on the platform has prompted the government to initiate an inquiry.

In a letter to the Department of Telecommunications seen by Mint, the operators did not mention Whatsapp, but highlighted potential security risks posed by over-the-top applications, which are not under any regulatory umbrella, and are also not required to meet the same security standards as telecom service providers such as lawful interception, call detail records, traceable user identity, or data and server localization. The letter was sent by the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) that represents Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, which serve nearly a billion customers.

COAI said all telcos in India are required to follow stringent regulations and security provisions laid down by the department of telecom in its license conditions for voice and video calls, unlike these apps that have no infrastructure to check unregulated calls. Liveint

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