Commercial use of WhatsApp / Skype / Foreign VoIP is not allowed for Startup without OSP License?

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Some new born Startups proposed that the contact center be run over a cloud-hosted telephony system. As per their model, calls would be generated from abroad, sent to a Cloud Hosted Automatic Call Distribution System (ACD) which would also be based abroad, and then routed over to the India-based contact center. Agents sitting in the contact center would connect to the ACD accounts to receive and make calls. The argument fundamentally was that, since there is no PSTN anywhere in the whole setup, and the whole contact center has no possibility of PSTN-VOIP merging, the contact center would legally comply with OSP norms.
DoT guidelines explicitly state that Voice traffic must be routed through MPLS, Point to Point link or PSTN path only. In India, carrying voice over the Internet for commercial use is not allowed. There are any number of reasons for this, but the salients ones are:
·         The Voice managing server is outside India, so DoT and security agencies become worried about getting access to the ACDs and the CDRs and system logs.
·         Additionally, from a security point of view, in this model, it becomes far more difficult to capture and decrypt voice conversations.
Note that one of the key defining requirements for OSP approval is that national security requirements be maintained — and this variant of the cloud-hosted model clearly fails that requirement. DoT does not approve these kinds of architectures. All OSPs will need to take the connection from India based authorized VoIP service providers only.
Finally, when we see the Clarification Terms and Condition for OSP dated №18–1/2009-CS-1 Dated: the 25th February, 2009, issued by the DoT, it explicitly mentions that “use of Foreign VoIP minutes by OSPs is not permissible”.
In short, our advice to all OSPs that intend to use cloud-hosted systems in this fashion is simple — avoid, avoid, avoid! Remember the cost of compliance may seem high, but it is far lower than the cost of being caught in non-compliance.

OSP Compliance Consultant
DoT OSP Compliance Consultant in Mumbai / Bangalore / Hyderabad
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