Ensuring regulatory compliance
Regulations covering telephony services are a constantly moving target. Licensed operators are well-used to ensuring compliance, but independent VoIP providers may find it hard to keep pace with evolving requirements. They need solution providers who truly understand how to deal with the network and technical requirements to ensure compliance – however they evolve.
Licensed operators are obliged to adhere to strict regulations as part of the conditions of their licenses. National regulators enforce these regulations, mediate and examine disputes and ensure compliance, often using sanctions and fines to penalise breaches. As such, operators must stay abreast of relevant legislation and regulation, and ensure that all systems are capable of complying with relevant standards. Failure to do so can be costly.
Of course, regulation can be imposed at a national level and from international organisations, such as the EU. An example of the latter is GDRP, which has a direct impact on how operators protect and manage subscriber data. At a national level, matters of public safety and security are paramount. Licensed operators have always had to provide support for emergency services. Until recently, many independent VoIP operators have managed to avoid the issue or at least some of its complexities.
However, that’s likely to change soon. For example, the FCC has developed new requirements for operators in the US which place more obligations on them with regard to resolving user location information, or “dispatchable location” as it is better known.
One outcome of this is that VoIP providers who depend on app-based solutions for mobile devices must enable users to bypass internal, closed communications services without using access codes to obtain outside lines. The fact that many VoIP providers depend on soft clients for mobile access is not controversial; the fact that many such applications are not really compatible with regulatory requirements is not only controversial but also often overlooked when discussing mobility.
The FCC has argued strongly that capabilities such as location resolution should be available, regardless of technology deployed. One implication of this is that fixed devices need to be clearly inventoried. Another is that mobile devices need to be connected to solutions that can resolve location – a capability beyond pure VoIP solutions that cannot interact with the mobile network to obtain cell ID information.
That’s just one example. The key lesson is that regulations evolve, all the time. So, in this context, it’s essential to be confident that your platforms can also easily evolve in pace or in anticipation of regulations. And, that they support the necessary interfaces to enable them to interact with all relevant network systems that can provide the relevant information.
Licensed operators are aware of these needs, but independent providers may be less familiar with the ways in which regulation can impact the services they deliver. That’s why it pays to work with vendors who are able to accommodate all interfaces and techniques that may be required to implement the required legislation.
Gintel has been doing this for years. Our systems are optimised to deliver Tier 1 performance – which includes full compliance with the legislation that operators are required to meet – not only GDPR but also with true mobile location resolution and integration with the relevant network elements, such as IMS. This is of crucial importance. Tier 1 operators are well used to taking such steps. Independent operators, confronted with rapidly evolving requirements, need to ensure that they can support the necessary rules – now and in the future.