Before discussing the new Government of India guidelines, lets understand what is OSP and what was the existing scenario before these guidelines came into picture.
What is Other Service Provider (OSP) ?
OSP is an acronym for Other Service Providers and refers to those Companies which are providing services like Tele-Marketing, Tele-Banking, Tele-Medicine, BPOs, Call-Centers etc. These Companies are required to obtain a specialized license from the Department of Telecommunication(DOT) known as OSP License.
Who can register as an OSP?
Any Indian entity registered under the Indian Companies Act, 2013 or an LLP (Limited Liability Partnership) registered under LLP Act, 2008 can register itself as an OSP to start an OSP Centre.
Factors to determine the type of OSP
The type of OSP license depends upon a number of factors viz,
- The number of workers within an organization, and
- The network area to which the service is provided.
Types of License
The OSP license can be of two types:
OSP license is generally issued for a period of 20 years. Total time period to obtain the license may range from 30 to 60 days.
Documents required for OSP License
The OSPs can apply for online registration at Saral Sanchar portal. The registration Form I shall be submitted with along with the following documents:
- Certificate of Incorporation
- MOA and AOA of the Company
- Board Resolution along with Power of Attorney
- Complete details about the nature of business to be carried out by the entity for which registration has been applied for.
- Network diagram
- List of Director’s of the Company/designated partners of the LLP
- List of Shareholders of the Company/Partners of the LLP
All the documents must be certified either by Company Secretary or one of the Directors of the Company or Statutory Auditors or Public Notary.
Terms and Conditions of Operation
The Department of Telecommunication issued revised terms and conditions for OSP vide Annexure I dated 5th August 2008 which need to be satisfied by all OSPs in India. Further amendments were also made to these revised guidelines. Some of the terms and conditions are as follows:
- OSP is a location based license. In case there are more than one location then separate licenses have to be applied for each location.
- OSP shall take the required internet resources in order to carry out its activities from authorized service providers only.
- OSPs need to mandatorily file “Annual Return” within 6 months of the completion of the financial year.
- Registration of OSPs is done by the respective Telecom Enforcement, Resource and Monitoring (TERM) Cells (formerly known as VTM Cells) as per location of the OSP Centre.
- OSPs are permitted to have “Work from Home” facility provided that security deposit along with agreement is submitted with the department. The agents at home shall be treated as Extended Agent Position.
- Interconnectivity of the International OSP with Domestic OSP is not permitted.
- Sharing of the infrastructure by the Domestic OSP and the International OSP shall be allowed provided that OSP center belongs to the same company.
The Ministry of Communications has issued a number of relaxations for the OSP due to ongoing corona pandemic. The Ministry relaxed various rules and regulations related to Work from Home to smoothen the business operations of OSPs in this difficult period.
New guidelines issued by Ministry of Communication for BPOs and ITeS Sectors - to boost Work From Home
The Ministry of Communication vide its Press Release dated 5th November 2020 has issued some liberalized guidelines to encourage the BPOs and ITeS Sectors. The key highlights of these guidelines are:
- No registration certificate will be required for OSP Centers in India.
- BPOs engaged in data related work have been taken out of the ambit of OSP regulations.
- OSPs which are having multiple centers may obtain a centralized internet connection at a location and this internet can be accessed from other OSP centers using leased circuits/ MPLS VPN.
- The OSPs shall be allowed to operate under “Work from Home ”, “Work from Anywhere in India ” without any Bank Guarantee and such other conditions. The agents shall be treated as remote agents of the OSP Centre and interconnection will be allowed.
- The requirements for static IPs, frequent reporting obligations, and publication of network diagrams have also been exempted to encourage the WFH culture.
- Interconnectivity between OSP Centers belonging to two different OSP Companies shall be allowed in India.
- Infrastructure sharing between Domestic OSP and International OSP shall be allowed.
India is among the top Countries which is known for its IT Services. The Government is taking every possible step in this pandemic time to keep these businesses running. These guidelines have been issued by the Government of India to send out a positive message of its support to the IT industry with a view to encourage investment in this sector. The new relaxations will help the Companies to hire new talent, women workforce from small towns and remote parts of the Country. These new regulations will give big boost to work from culture and will provide job opportunities to women.
- Liberalized Guidelines issued by Government of India : https://www.pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1670405
- Registration under Other Service Providers (OSP) category : https://dot.gov.in/relatedlinks/registration-under-other-service-providers-osp-category
- New OSP Guidelines : https://static.pib.gov.in/WriteReadData/userfiles/OSP%20Guidelines%2005.11.2020.pdf