The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has imposed a penalty worth Rs 350 million on eight telecom operators for not preventing unsolicited commercial communications (UCC) over their networks between April 2020 to June 2020.

The regulator’s penalties are on various counts of violation of the Telecom Commercial Communication Customer Preference Regulation. According to the TRAI, these operators failed to stop cybercriminals activities of issuing fake SMSs to dupe digital payment users.

To this end, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has been slapped with the highest fine of Rs 300 million, along with an additional Rs 1 million for non-compliance of Code of Practices. Further, penalties worth Rs 18.2 million, Rs 13.3 million, Rs 14.1 million and Rs 1.49 million were imposed on Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel, Quadrant Televentures and Reliance Jio, respectively. In addition, financial disincentives worth Rs 173,000, Rs 1.5 million and Rs 34,000 have been imposed on Mahanagar Telecom Nigam Limited (MTNL), Tata Teleservices and V-Con Mobile and Infra Private Limited, respectively.

The court’s direction had come while hearing a plea by One97 Communications Limited, the parent of fintech company Paytm. In June 2020, One97 had moved the Delhi High Court against telcos, TRAI, and the centre for not blocking those who were defrauding its customers by phishing activities over mobile networks.

TRAI has said that these amounts have to be deposited with it by the companies within 20 days from November 23, 2020 when the orders were passed.

Meanwhile, TRAI has said that according to the performance monitoring reports, the access providers have imposed usage cap in more than 190,000 cases during investigation of complaints and thereafter, warning notices were issued in 115,000 cases, usage caps were imposed in around 77,000 cases and 17,000 connections were disconnected. Besides that more than 223,000 headers of various principal entities have been registered till November 23, 2020.