TRAI tells telecom operators to block pesky calls, SMSes from telemarketers

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Alarmed at the rising pesky mobile calls and text messages by telemarketers, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Thursday directed all telecom service providers to reverify registered headers and message templates on distributed ledger technologies (DLT) platform and block all unverified headers and message templates within 30 and 60 days, respectively.

In a new directive, the telecom regulator said that the mobile operators need to ensure that temporary headers are deactivated immediately after the time duration for which such headers were created.

TRAI issued new directions to providers to stop misuse of headers and message templates and curb unauthorized promotions using telecom resources.

The telecom regulator told the mobile operators to remove confusion among recipients of messages and prevent their misuse and no look-alike headers (headers that are similar by virtue of a combination of the small case or large case letters) are to be registered by access providers in the names of different principal entities.

“Access providers have been directed to bar all telemarketers, who are not registered on the DLT platform from handling the message template scrubbing and delivery of messages to recipients through Access Providers’ network,” read the TRAI note.

It directed mobile operators to take action against erring telemarketers as per the provisions of the regulations and also initiate actions as per relevant legal laws.

All the telecom service providers have been directed to comply with the above directions within 30 days.

Earlier this week, a survey revealed that two in three Indians get three or more pesky calls every day, and 50 percent of them said such calls originate from a personal number of people.

According to LocalCircles which conducted the survey, 45 percent of people get on average 3-5 pesky calls each day while 16 percent claimed to get 6-10 such calls per day.

Around 60 per cent received most calls related to “selling financial services”, 18 per cent got most calls related to “selling real estate” while 10 per cent received most calls “offering a job/earnings opportunity.”

TRAI has called a meeting with mobile phone operators on February 17 to discuss the quality of wireline and wireless services.

The meeting will discuss potential “measures and action plan to improve the quality of service (QoS), review the current QoS standards, QoS for 5G services, and unsolicited commercial communications”.

TRAI in 2022 had released a consultation paper on the mandatory implementation of Calling Name Presentation (CNAP) in telecommunication networks which are designed to display the name of the caller (even if the receiver has not saved the same on their device/SIM) on the receiver’s screen when the call connects.

However, complaints from consumers continued to rise and unsolicited communications are something people have been regularly discussing, according to LocalCircles.

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