The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has directed telecom companies to ensure timely registration of entities which send out bulk commercial messages to consumers. It has also allowed government entities to get easy provisional registration with a deadline of July 31 to regularise the same.
“Incidents have come to the notice of Trai that telecom service providers are taking too much time for the registration of the entities and headers resulting in a disruption in sending the SMS. It has also been brought to the notice that many government entities are also not able to send the SMS as they are not able to get their headers registered,” TRAI said.
The regulator has now issued directions to all operators to ensure that registration of commercial entities and assignment of headers is done on a “priority basis” within seven days subject to fulfilment of formalities by concerned entities.
For registration of government entities, it has allowed a simple procedure for their provisional registration for the time being. “All such government entities have been permitted time till July 31, 2020 to complete all formalities and regularise their registration including headers so assigned provisionally. This will address concerns of all government agencies,” it said.
TRAI’s decision brings relaxation for entities like banks, airlines and many government entities who often send out bulk SMSes to mobile users.
The Telecom Commercial Communication Customer Preference Regulation rules notified in July 2018 provide for the registration of sender entities through a simple registration process so the business can assert their identity and establish a relationship of trust with their clients. It also prescribed registration of headers and their use to segregate different types of commercial messages, so business will be able to enable clients to manage, delete or store communications related to OTPs, balance enquiry, flight alerts, and special offers among others.
“Telecom service providers have initiated blocking of commercial communication traffic from ‘headers’ of principal entities who have not yet registered or are yet to get the assignment of headers,” TRAI has now said.
It has now also stated that access providers will have to publish a complete list of headers on their websites and also facilitate their customers to fetch this information by sending an SMS to the special number ‘1909’.
In 2018, TRAI had directed telecom operators to adopt blockchain technology to register telemarketers and to improve the complaint redressal system for unsolicited calls. It has asked operators to ensure that only registered telemarketers have access to consumers phone number databases. TRAI’s move comes in the wake of rising spam calls to mobile phone users despite restrictions on telemarketers.
In May 2018, the regulator had published draft norms that proposed using the technology to ensure that telemarketing messages are sent only to subscribers. The first phase of DLT went live on June 1, which mandated registration of principal entities (could be enterprises/individuals who do telemarketing) and header (such as VM-HDFCBANK) on all four telco’s portals.
Though TRAI has not notified the deadline for next phase activation, the entire onboarding process is expected to complete by November.