TRAI imposes heavy penalty on telecom operators for engaging in phishing activities

TRAI mentioned that these fraudulent activities were escalated during the lockdown especially among the first-time digital payment users 

India’s telecom regulatory body, TRAI has now foisted a massive fine amounting Rs 35 crore on India’s leading operators such as Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone Idea for helping cybercriminals to send fake SMSes to cheat digital payment users. 

According to an exclusive report of ET, TRAI’s penalties are imposed on various grounds of violation of the Telecom Commercial Communication Customer Preference Regulation. The additional companies, which are fined include Videocon, Tata Teleservices, Quadrant Teleservices and state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd. The report also highlighted that state-run BSNL is foisted with the heftiest fine of Rs 30.1 crore and it didn’t manage to answer TRAI’s show-cause notices and provide performance-monitoring reports.

Around Rs 1.82 crore fine imposed on Vodafone-Idea, Rs 1.41 crore on Quadrant and Rs 1.33 crore on Bharti Airtel. This decision of TRAI could benefit one of India’s leading digital payment platforms Paytm, which is engaged in a scuffle with the telecom industry in the Delhi High Court. The operators are alleged of not preventing phishing activities over their networks.

In the last hearing back in September, the court had ordered TRAI to take serious action against operators for infringing rules and regulations to suppress spam messages and calls. While filing the complaint, Paytm surged that telecom companies are not taking proper steps in monitoring and supervising the issuance of SMS headers to the telemarketers that ultimately helped cybercriminals to dupe their customers. Even PhonePe and Mobikwik supported the argument of Paytm. 

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