Archive for the ‘Regulatory’ Category

Mobile Money Transfer Regulatory Hurdles

Monday, November 10th, 2008

First to present this morning at the Mobile Money Transfer Conference (MMT08) here in Dubai was Ryan Gilbert of 1688 Inc. Gilbert excited the crowd when he described the size & potential of the Mobile Money Transfer (MMT) market. The money transfer market is currently estimated to be a $700 billion annual industry, of which $350 billion is reported through traditional means of money transfer through services such as Western Union & MoneyGram. The other $350 billion goes unreported because of non-traditional money transfers such as sending cash via snail mail & cash delivered during travel. The mobile phone, a now ubiquitous device across the globe, is the key to capturing a piece of the existing reported $350 billion market, & more importantly capturing an even larger percentage of the $350 billion which is currently untapped.

The mobile phone offers not only a more convenient way of transferring money, but is also a less expensive method for the consumer. Sending money via Western Union for example is quickly becoming a dated solution & as consumers realize the simplicity & the many advantages of money transfer via mobile the likes of Western Union will need to adapt their services to the  mobile phone or their business will suffer significantly.

Like all great opportunities there tend to be hurdles that we must work together to overcome. In a post 9-11 environment we a forced to deal with many new strict laws & regulations that will unintentionally impede the growth of the mobile money transfer market. The larger regulatory hurdles which are causing the most concern include the global patchwork of laws, the fact that current legal frameworks do not fully cover cross-border remittances, compliance is expensive, & most importantly the pace of regulation has not kept up with pace of technology innovation.

Within the United States, we are burden with even more regulations. U.S. regulations include property law, consumer protection law, AML/CFT/KYC/OFAC (also known as the alphabet soup of regulation), privacy law, telecommunications law, the Federal Money Service Business registration, & lastly the State Money Transmitter License all plaguing the industry.

Since inaction is not a viable option, the following actions for moving forward with MMT were recommended by Gilbert: 1) we must close the gap between that exists between innovations of the mobile network operator (MNO) & the regulatory goals, 2) we need inclusive planning processes, 3) we need to address consumer demand, & 4) we need to balance regulations with service-based trust & safety.

If we work together inside this mobile payment ecosystem these hurdles in comparison to the opportunity that exists are insignificant. The goal is to move quickly in order to meet consumer demand while keeping true to the regulatory compliances before us.

Brian Kirk
VP Business Development
NetworkIP & Jaduka

Telecom & Prepaid Regulatory Updates - #2

Friday, September 19th, 2008

FCC CPNI Enforcements
September 19, 2008
by: Jennifer Begin

In the last several months the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) shocked many carriers with heavy fines related to noncompliance of their updated Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI) regulations. CPNI is the information that telecommunications carriers acquire about their subscribers from call detail records (CDRs).  It includes not only what services they use, but their amount & type of usage. The FCC generally prohibits the use of that information without customer permission. CPNI includes such information as optional services subscribed to, current charges, directory assistance charges, usage data, & calling patterns.

The year 2008 has seen many changes to the privacy rules originally adopted by the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The Commission strengthened its privacy rules, by adopting additional safeguards to protect CPNI against unauthorized access & disclosure. In previous years it was the carrier’s responsibility to have an officer annually sign an internally maintained compliance certificate stating that the officer had personal knowledge that the company has established operating procedures that are adequate to ensure compliance & also a statement explaining how its operating procedures ensure that it is or is not in compliance with the rules. However, this year the FCC required for the first time that the CPNI certificates & statements be filed with the FCC by March 1, 2008.

Those companies that did not follow this new requirement may receive letters from the FCC asking them to provide previous compliance certificates & may receive fines ranging from $4,000 to $100,000 if the FCC determines that there is indeed a noncompliance issue. For further information on CPNI requirements please see the FCC’s site: http://www.fcc.gov/eb/CPNI/Welcome.html.

NetworkIP encourages you to make sure you are in compliance with this filing requirement & consult an attorney should you receive a notice from the FCC concerning this issue.

* This article is strictly an overview & not to be construed as legal advice. You will need to apply this general information to your entity-specific situation & may need to seek legal advice to ensure you are in full compliance with the federal & state laws for telecommunications companies.

Telecom & Prepaid Regulatory Updates - #1

Monday, August 18th, 2008

It is extremely important that companies keep in synchronization with regulatory changes. At NetworkIP, we have taken the lead for our clients to ensure that they are made aware of regulatory items that affect their business. In an effort to share our knowledge of regulatory items affecting the telecom & prepaid industry we’ve decided to post this information to the Internet via our blog so that companies around the world could take advantage of this valuable information. It is my pleasure to bring to you the first of many “Telecom & Prepaid Regulatory Updates” courtesy of NetworkIP.

Telecom & Prepaid Regulatory Updates - #1
August 18, 2008
by: Jennifer Begin

If you are doing business in the telecom industry & have properly registered with the Federal Communications Commission & you have filed the 2008 Form 499-A (on 2007 Revenues) with USAC, you should be receiving invoices from the various regulatory agencies that govern this industry. As stated on the Form 499-A & further detailed in the instructions, those revenues reported are subject to Regulatory Fees other than just USF. On the last page of the form, there are boxes that must be checked which indicate for which fees you are eligible (not exempt from) to be billed. In an effort to further define what a customer should expect regarding these new invoiced amounts, below is detailed information about what is being billed & how the billing is calculated.

- NECA bills annually for the Telecommunication Relay Service (TRS) usually in July. If your contribution requirement is more than $1,200 then you can opt to have it billed monthly. Information on the 2008-2009 Interstate TRS Fund billing process is available at www.neca.org/NECA_Recources.asp. If you have questions regarding the calculation of your contribution, or need additional information you can contact Marina Aparicio at 973-884-8334 or maparic@neca.org.

- Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) bills monthly for USF fees based on the revenues reported on the 499-Qs. The bill gives detailed information on how they determine your contribution as well as whether you are LIRE eligible & De Minimis eligible.

- NeuStar bills monthly for Local Number Portability & Statement of Work (LNP/SOW) fees. This invoice is based on the revenue reported on the 499-A. You can view your invoice & instructions on “How to Read Your Invoice” through NeuStar’s password protected website at http://billing.neustar.com.

- FCC (Federal Communications Commission) bills annually, usually in the August-September time frame, for a Federal Regulatory Fee based on revenues reported on the 499-A. To find out how this regulatory fee is determined for your company, refer to the industry appropriate section under the heading “Who Owes Fees & What is My Fee” at http://www.fcc.gov/fees/regfees.html.

Information on these fees can be found in the 499-A instruction manual on pages 34-36.

* This article is strictly an overview & not to be construed as legal advice. You will need to apply this general information to your entity-specific situation & may need to seek legal advice to ensure you are in full compliance with the federal & state laws for telecommunications companies.