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The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has come up with new rules to reduce pesky and unwanted commercial calls.
The new norms include the use of blockchain technology to ensure regulatory compliance while allowing innovation in the market.
It said the earlier regulation on this subject was notified in 2010. Since then action has been continually taken against entities violating the rules and it has led to the disconnection of as many as 1.4 million telephone numbers, besides other penalties.
However, the problem of unwanted and unsolicited commercial communication (popularly called spam) has continued to resist the onslaught.
Meanwhile, the menace of fraudulent calls and messages has also emerged in a big way and this issue has been red-flagged by other sectoral regulators, like SEBI and RBI, who have sought TRAI's assistance in controlling these activities.
Further, with the adoption of newer technologies, such as automated calling, the spammers have acquired the ability to reach ever larger target groups, TRAI said.
TRAI also pointed out that every Access Provider shall ensure, within six months' time, that all smartphone devices registered on its network support the permissions required for the functioning of such Apps as prescribed in the regulations.
It further adds, "Provided that where such devices do not permit functioning of such apps as prescribed in regulations and regulations.. access providers shall, on the order or direction of the authority, derecognize such devices from their telecom networks.
The new Regulations issued today provide additional details, which are we are reviewing, COAI said.
Rajan S Mathews, DG, Cellular Operators Association of India said: "We reiterate our previous concern about regulations that are issued without a proper cost/benefit analysis, especially in the present situation of the stressed financial condition of the industry and its ability to absorb additional regulatory costs.
We are reviewing the regulation to see if this is adequately addressed. The time frames for implementing, especially given the requirement to implement Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), which has not been implemented by any other regulator, appears too stringent and difficult to achieve. However, we are committed to addressing our customers' concerns and will work with TRAI to see whether our mutual concerns and interests can be met."