New Telecom Law: Biometric ID Required for SIM Sales, Customer Consent Mandatory for Promotional Messages

The new Telecommunication Bill for 2023 has been approved by President Draupadi Murmu and is now enacted. The implementation of the Telecommunication Act will begin from the date specified in the government gazette notification, which was passed in the Lok Sabha on December 20 and in the Rajya Sabha on December 21.

Stringent Penalties for Purchasing Fake SIM Cards

Under the Telecommunication Act, purchasing a fake SIM card may result in a jail term of up to 3 years and a fine of up to 50 lakh rupees. The law also mandates telecom companies to conduct biometric authentication before selling SIM cards to customers.

Enhanced Powers for National Security

The legislation grants the government the authority to take control, manage, or suspend any telecommunication service or network for reasons related to national security. In times of conflict, the government can use this power to restrict messages on the telecommunication network.

This law will amend the 138-year-old Indian Telegraph Act, along with replacing the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act of 1933 and making modifications to the TRAI Act of 1997.

Changes in Licensing System

The Telecommunication Act will bring changes to the licensing system. Currently, service providers need various licenses, permits, approvals, and registrations for different services. The telecom department will now publicly announce any new licenses or registrations, and there will be 100 or more licenses/registrations in the licensing system.

Boost for Companies like SpaceX’s Starlink

The bill includes administrative allocation of the telecommunication spectrum, speeding up the commencement of services. The new bill benefits foreign companies like Elon Musk’s SpaceX Starlink. This is crucial, especially when companies like Jio may face losses due to these developments.

Customer Consent for Promotional Messages

The legislation requires obtaining customer consent before sending promotional messages for products and services. It also suggests that telecom companies should establish an online mechanism for users to register their complaints.

Lack of Clarity on Regulation for OTT Applications

The new version of the bill does not provide clear information about the regulation of Over-The-Top (OTT) applications or internet-based communication applications, such as Gmail, WhatsApp, Signal, etc. The government may consider regulating these applications in the future.

When the draft of the Telecommunication Bill was proposed last year, it included provisions for regulating OTT services. However, OTT services have been excluded from the current bill.

Arvind Amble

My name is Arvind Amble. As a tech enthusiast and writer, I'm fascinated by the ever-evolving world of technology, AI, IOS, Android, Software & Apps, and Digital Marketing. With a keen eye for emerging trends and a passion for innovation, I bring a fresh perspective to my writing, blending technical expertise with a creative flair.