Channel Partner Compliance Rests With Operators: TRAI

Partner Compliance

Bangalore: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has asked telecom operators to take full responsibility for ensuring that their channel partners and sub-channel partners adhere to conditions of the license agreement and other regulatory guidelines that they enter into with customers.

In what is seen as a bid to regulate the burgeoning number of websites and offline channel partners and their re-sellers, TRAI has made it clear in its guidelines that as third party entities are appointed by the service providers, they would be responsible for ensuring regulatory compliance.

“Since channel partners and sub-channel partners are non-licensed entities and are appointed by the telecom services providers (TSP) based on mutually agreed terms and conditions, all responsibilities for ensuring compliance of terms and conditions of the license agreement and other regulatory guidelines shall remain with the TSPs,” TRAI has said.

Currently several third party vendors such as websites and apps are in place for activities related to a series of activities ranging from top-up recharges to bill payments and even customer acquisition. Websites such as Oxigen, Mobikwik and Freecharge facilitate recharges and bill payment in their role as channel partners of the telecom companies.

The regulator reiterated that the agreements between the telecom operators and the channels and sub-channel partners must incorporate clauses related to subscriber relations, attending to subscriber grievances, the recharge process and the matter of updating tariff, in addition to other technical issues.

TRAI went on to state that there could be a possibility of time gaps existing between telecom operators, channel partners and their associates while updating information related to new tariff products or their revision that could cause inconsistency and result in subscribers not getting perceived benefits.

The TSPs must introduce a mechanism whereby a new tariff product or any change in any tariff product is updated concurrently on channel partner websites or apps. Only after ensuring such an update on the channel partner end, must the tariff product be made live for subscribers, TRAI has ruled.

It also suggested that any new tariff products or change in existing tariff products must only be made at midnight or between midnight and 0200 hours on the date of the launch of a new tariff product or change in an existing one.

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