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What is the Basic Difference in OSP and ISP?

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  • Post published:December 15, 2023
  • Post category:General


The Telecom sector in India underwent a significant transformation with the introduction of a new telecom policy by the Indian Government in 1999. This policy aimed to regulate the sector and enhance the infrastructure to meet the evolving needs of the digital age. A crucial aspect of this policy was the regulation of Other Service Providers (OSPs), which played a vital role in offering services such as telemedicine, telebanking, tele-education, e-commerce, and more. This article explores the dynamics of OSPs, their registration process, and the associated regulations, shedding light on the Telecom sector’s intricacies.

Regulatory Framework for OSPs

OSPs, registered under the Companies Act or LLP, leverage telecom resources like PSTN, PLMN, ISDN, and telecom bandwidth provided by authorized Telecom Service Providers (TSPs). The TSPs must hold a valid license under the Indian Telegraph Act 1885 to provide these resources. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) issues licenses to OSPs through Telecom Enforcement, Resource, and Monitoring (TERM) offices based on their location.

Registration and Licensing:

To operate, OSPs must obtain a license issued by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) through Telecom Enforcement, Resource, and Monitoring (TERM). The registration process is contingent on the OSP’s location, ensuring adherence to regulatory norms.

OSP Types and Conditions:

OSPs are classified as Domestic, International, and Hot Sites. Domestic OSPs cater to services within the country, while International OSPs extend services beyond national boundaries. Hot Sites act as standby facilities during emergencies. Conditions for OSPs include adherence to the Companies Act, 2013, or the LLP Act, 2008, and prohibition from providing switched telephony.

ISP Unveiled

An Internet Service Provider (ISP) furnishes internet and related services. ISPs connect customers through telecommunication lines, offering internet, e-mail, web hosting, and domain registration services. The types of internet connections provided include cable, fibre, DSL, and satellite.

ISP Infrastructure:

ISPs operate through high-speed internet lines, maintaining servers in data centres. They are categorized into Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 based on their network reach and capabilities. Tier 1 ISPs manage substantial global traffic, negotiating with other Tier 1 networks, while Tier 3 ISPs focus on local markets and businesses.

Different Internet Services:

Cable, fibre, DSL, and satellite are distinct internet services, each with unique attributes. Fibre-optic internet, known for high-speed transmission, outpaces DSL and cable. Cable internet, DSL, and satellite cater to varying needs, offering different upload and download speeds.

OSP vs. ISP: A Comparative Analysis:

Basis of Comparison OSP ISP
Full form Other Service Provider Internet Service Provider
Purpose Provides online services via Provides access to internet services
the internet to desired users and data connectivity to users
Services provided Online services when already Internet connection when hiring an ISP
connected services
Choice of Internet Does not provide internet Provides internet speed according to
Speed speed choice the customer’s needs
Services and Provides various services and Lack of services
Facilities facilities
Security May or may not be secure Secure
Rate Prices are cheaper Prices often high
Software used Uses proprietary software Does not use proprietary software
Approach Guided tour approach to the No guided tour approach to the
Internet Internet
Example Google, Yahoo, Amazon, BSNL, Google, MTNL, AT&T, Verizon, etc.
Flipkart, etc.


This comprehensive exploration highlights the integral role of OSPs and ISPs in the Indian telecom landscape. The evolving policies and regulations signify the commitment of the Indian Government to foster a robust and inclusive telecom ecosystem. As technology advances, OSPs and ISPs will play pivotal roles in shaping the future of telecommunications in India.

In conclusion, this article aims to provide a thorough understanding of OSPs and ISPs, shedding light on their functions, differences, and impact on India’s ever-evolving telecommunications sector.


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