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M2M Service Provider Guidelines

Trade & Regulatory Compliance Practice | Jasman Dhanoa

The Department of Telecommunications (“DoT”) on 18th February 2022 released ‘Guidelines for registration process of ‘Machine to Machine' service providers & WPAN/WLAN Connectivity Provider for M2M Services' (“Guidelines”). These guidelines seek to address industry concerns by regulating and operationalizing M2M services in India through registration under the Guidelines.

The guidelines were first recommended by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (“TRAI”) on 5th September 2017 with respect to "Spectrum, Roaming and QoS related requirements in Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Communications". Subsequently, the DoT had issued the draft guidelines to seek views of relevant stakeholders including the M2M industry before notifying the same.

Salient Features:

  1. M2M Services: The Guidelines defined M2M Services as “Services offered through a connected network of objects/devices, with unique identifiers, in which Machine to Machine (M2M) communication is possible with predefined back-end platform(s) either directly or through some gateway. Examples of M2M services include fleet management, supply chain management, agriculture automation, smart utilities including power, water, gas etc.”

  2. M2M Service Provider (“M2MSP”): AN M2M SP has been defined as an Indian company/LLP /Partnership firm which provides M2M services to third parties using telecom resources. M2MSP include third parties utilising M2M services from registered M2MSP in connection with its products or as part of its offerings to its end customers as a product or service, and any organization which intends to provide M2M services for captive use.

  3. Submission of details of IT Setup/Core Network: M2MSPs/WPAN/WLAN Connectivity Provider have to provide the details of location of their IT setup/ core network at the time of registration and notify the DoT if there are any changes in location of their IT setup/ core network.

  4. No registration for TSPs: TSPs can provide M2M Services to third parties under current licensing framework without registering under the guidelines.

  5. Details of customers: M2MSPs must maintain and update details of customers of M2M services including (a) details of M2M devices, including make, model, registration number, etc. of the M2M devices, and (b) corresponding name and address of custodian of M2M devices.

  6. Compliance with KYC, e-SIM and other relevant regulations: The guidelines prescribe adherence to extant regulations on KYC, use of e-SIMs with Over-the-Air (OTA) subscription update facility, permanent international roaming regulations as notified and quality of service norms which may be prescribed by TRAI. Further, the prevailing IMEIs guidelines issued by DoT for handset will be applicable in case of M2M devices.

  7. Equipment certification: M2MSPs must deploy only that devices/equipment in the network which meet the mandated Telecom Engineering Centre (“TEC”) standards and certifications. In the absence of mandatory TEC standard, the devices/equipment conforming to the relevant Indian standards set by National and International standardization bodies must be deployed.

  8. Security Conditions: M2MSPs must ensure that the data logs, event logs, system logs etc. handled by the system are tamper-proof and preserved at least for one year. Additionally, the security, encryption, data protection norms mandated under the Information Technology Act, 2000 and rules made thereunder must be adhered to.

Conclusion

The DoT has been continuously issuing regulatory guidance to operationalize the entire M2M ecosystem consisting of users, application service providers, M2MSPs and network operators (TSPs). Earlier, the DoT had issued notification prescribing KYC norms for issuing SIM cards for enabling M2M communications. Additionally, the DoT had amended the Unified License and Unified License (Virtual Network Operator) agreements enabling TSPs to provide M2M connectivity within the area of their existing authorizations. These guidelines seek to provide regulatory clarity to M2MSPs and WPAN/WLAN connectivity providers for providing M2M connectivity for commercial purposes, operating in unlicensed spectrum.

Practice Contacts

Ameet Datta - Partner (Practice Lead) | ameet@saikrishnaassociates.com

Suvarna Mandal - Associate Partner | suvarna@saikrishnaassociates.com

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