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TRAI directs telecom operators, telemarketers to apply new SMS rules by April 1

When the regulation was implemented earlier this month, it caused inconvenience to the general public as there was a mass failure in generating SMSes and OTPs.

twitter-logoIndia Today Tech | March 26, 2021 | Updated 17:34 IST

Highlights

  • The TRAI in a letter to telemarketers noted that from April 1, 2021, any message not complying with regulatory requirements will be rejected.
  • As of now, even the traffic which has failed in the content scrubbing is allowed to be delivered, to avoid inconvenience to the consumers.
  • The TRAI has also urged the RBI to direct banks to comply with the new SMS rules.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has directed telecom operators to re-activate SMS checking filters beginning April 1 and block traffic that does not comply with the regulatory standards. The TRAI in a letter to the telemarketers as seen by ET wrote, "As sufficient opportunity has been given to the principal entities to comply with the regulatory requirements, the consumers cannot be deprived of the benefits of the regulatory provisions. Accordingly, it has been decided that from April 1, 2021, any message failing in the scrubbing due to non-compliance of regulatory requirements will be rejected."

TRAI reportedly held a meeting with telecom operators and over 50 telemarketing firms across the country to discuss the hurdles faced by business entities to onboard the complex blockchain-based SMS filtering system. The principal entities have to apply the SMS rules which involve SMS scrubbing. The process involves matching SMS content with a pre-registered template submitted by every principal entity that sends commercial SMS to its customers.


As of now, even the traffic which has failed in the content scrubbing is allowed to be delivered, to avoid inconvenience to the consumers. The publication cited telemarketers who noted that complying with the new SMS rules could again lead to OTP failure that earlier took place when they first complied with the rules and that it is not feasible since multiple templates keep coming in every day.

The TRAI has also urged the RBI to direct banks to comply with the new SMS rules stating that banks fail to comply with the new rules, their communication to customers may be disrupted. The TRAI informed the RBI that the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations (TCCCPR), 2018, or the new SMS rules for pesky messages have been activated by telecom operators that include content scrubbing from March 17, 2021.

When the regulation was implemented earlier this month, it caused inconvenience to the general public as there was a mass failure in generating SMSes and one-time passwords (OTPs). The services affected because of OTP failure included net banking, credit card payments, Aadhaar-enabled transactions, railway ticket bookings, and vaccine registrations. What followed was a blame game of sorts and banks and payment companies blamed telecom operators, who then said it was the Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) companies who failed to comply with the new rules.

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