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Watal Committe Report recommends regulation for Carrier Billing in India

The Watal Committee on digital payments (pdf), constituted by the Indian governments Ministry of Finance, has recommended that telecom operators be allowed Direct Carrier Billing for low value transactions be allowed in a "sandbox environment", with light touch regulation, open to regular evaluation. A sandbox environment, according to the report, allows these technologies to operate under a limited license, for the purpose of evaluating the feasibility of the business model, and its likely risks, so that these can be used to make adjustments to a regulatory framework. The report states: "The Committee recommends that telecom companies be permitted to roll out DCB Payment model within the telecom entity for all low value payments. The threshhold may be defined by RBI in consultation with TRAI and reviewed periodically." Direct Carrier Billing is when a user can use their mobile operator to make payments: in case of a mobile prepaid user (which is most of India's connections), they can make the money remaining in their prepaid balance to make the payment. In this case, the telecom operator treats remaining balance as being in a mobile wallet. In case of post-paid, the payment is added to their mobile bill. In this case, the telecom operator treats payments in a manner similar to a credit card payment process. Regulatory ambiguity regarding Direct Carrier Billing Carrier Billing has been around for years, with businesses like Fortumo, Boku and VerSe, among others offering consumers the ability to pay with their mobile balance; the Watal Commitee report…

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Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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