TRAI Fines 8 Telecom Companies Rs 35 Crore For Failing To Curb Fake SMSes

BSNL Cops Maximum Penalty Of Rs 301, Crore

New Delhi: Eight Indian telcos, including BSNL and the big private players, have been fined Rs 35 crore by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) for failing to curb fake SMSes sent to dupe digital payments app users.

The state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has copped the maximum penalty of Rs 30.1 crore for failing to respond to TRAI’s showcause notices and produce performance-monitoring reports.

Vodafone Idea (Vi) will have to pay Rs 1.82 crore, Quadrant Teleservices Rs 1.41 crore and Airtel Rs 1.33 crore. Reliance Jio, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL), Videocon and Tata Teleservices have been fined lesser amounts by TRAI.

Digital payments giant Paytm is battling a legal battle against leading players of Indian telecom industry in a case in Delhi High Court.

The court had asked TRAI to act against service providers for violating regulations on curbing spam calls and text messages.

Paytm had contended that telecom operators were lax in monitoring issuance of SMS headers — unique IDs through which commercial text messages are sent — to telemarketers. Hence, even those with malicious intent were able to get these SMS headers, enabling them to send promotional SMSes to unsuspecting customers.

Most of these messages, purportedly coming from banks or payment executives, seek customer’s private details. And those who provide their details see their funds being siphoned off from their bank accounts or digital wallets.

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