Users face hurdles in warding off pesky calls

After the regulation barring commercial calls and messages kicked off on September 27, as feared by the industry, technical glitches have become the order of the day.

After the regulation barring commercial calls and messages kicked off on September 27, as feared by the industry, technical glitches have become the order of the day. Typically, consumers trying to register with the National Do Not Call (NDNC) registry service are either not getting any response or the registration is not taking place. Either ways, it has turned into a win-win situation for telemarketers and telecom companies.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai ), which is supposed to keep the NDNC system error-free, has failed to respond even as subscribers have flooded it with complaints. When asked, a senior Trai official said they were looking into the matter.

Moreover the Do-Not-Call registry operated by the operators is confusing and lacks clarity, complain subscribers.

"It seems as if the operators do not like you blocking all unsolicited communications. First you will not a response through an SMS. If you try 1909 for NDNC it will be unavailable. Luckily, if you manage to get through, you will be guided through an IVR, which is very confusing and lacks clarity," said Santosh Rathore, a Delhi-based Idea Cellular subscriber.

Alpana, a Delhi-based Vodafone subscriber, faced similar problems while attempting to register with the NDNC. Trai has identified seven categories -real estate, education, banking, financial products, automobiles, communication, entertainment, health, consumer goods, leisure and tourism-telemarketing services. Subscribers can either fully or selectively block these services.

On the day the filtering mechanism for unsolicited communications came into effect, telecom minister Kapil Sibal had cautioned that the challenge still remained for its successful implementation.

Earlier, the director general of industry lobby COAI, Rajan S. Mathews had said that the UCC regulations post-September 27 were bound to have hiccups as was seen post-rollout of mobile number portability (MNP).

Only 2.7 crore of over 85 crore phone users in India are registered with the NDNC registry.

In an interesting development, Trai organised a meeting of the Telecom User Groups (TUGs) in the midst of complaints flooding in about the NDNC either not being available or not accepting fresh registrations. But instead of taking up these complaints, it discussed ways to promote 3G services and the 2G probe hampering the growth of the industry.

"We ( TUGs) organised a workshop where advisors from Trai were also present. We discussed in detail about the ways we could promote 3G services and the fallout of 2G investigation that was hampering the growth of telecom companies," said Ashim Sanyal, a COO of Consumer Voice, a TUG group.

Trai organises workshops with TUGs under its consumer education fund.

"This is a clear departure from what TUGs is supposed to do. They are meant to help subscribers and not promote the interest of the operators. These TUGs instead of discussing issues of concern like the one being faced by consumers registering for NDNC were busy discussing how they could benefit telecom companies," said telecom observer Satyanarayan Aggarwal.

Aggarwal is a member of a TUG but was unable to attend the workshop.

Courtesy: Mail Today