TRAI Directs Indian Telcos to Stop Misusing of Telemarketing Message Template

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Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued a new directions to Indian Telcos to curb the spam and unapproved Telemarketing message template being delivered to the customers.

As these messages are potentially infringing the privacy of the public. Thus TRAI regulated the Telcos to create a separate mechanism for preventing such messages.

This new directions provided is in continuation to the previous Directions provided through notification on 16th February 2023.

TRAI’s Earlier Direction

The Notification released on 16th Feb is regarding measures to curb misuse of Headers and Content Templates on Telecommunication messages.

The Header represents the name you receive on the SMS sent from the Corporate and advertisement companies.

The Template is the message part of the SMS which brings the content to the message.

To avoid duplication or misleading Headers and to prevent unsolicited messages from spreading TRAI brought new regulations with this notifications.

We elaborate on the regulations on below

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Role of Access Provider

Header Registration Function

Every Access Provider in this case the mobile operator should carry out the following functions before approving header

  • Carry out Pre Verification of documents and credentials submitted by an individual, business entity or legal entities requesting for header.
  • Bind with a mobile device and mobile numbers, in a secure and safe manner, which shall be used subsequently on regular intervals for logins to the sessions by the header assignee.
  • Carry out additional checks for look-alike header which may be misleading to a common recipient.

Template Registration Function

The telecom service provider while approving a Entity should consider following and should be satisfied.

  • Check content of the template being offered for registration as a Transactional Template and Service Message Template.
  • Identify fixed and variable portion(s) of the content in the offered transactional template and service message template with identification of type of content for each portion of variable part of the content.
  • Estimate the total length of variable portion, viz. total length of fixed portion for a typical transactional message, service message for offered template.

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TRAI REGULATION on message template

TRAI finding irregularities in the approval of Template and Header now provided following regulations to the Telcos.

  1. Access Providers must deactivate all the headers which are dormant for more than 30 days, and the same can be activated with obtaining proper documents.
  2. Every Access provider should Re verify the all Header Registration, and if found any irregularities the Header should be blocked.
  3. Telcos should come up with a mechanism for rejecting similar Header pertaining to the famous Headers.
  4. Access Provider here after should verify all the Headers and Content Quarterly to assess the quality.
  5. Make sure the variables in the content templates are non-contiguous and not separated with space, comma and/or any other special characters.
  6. Limit the number of variable portions in content template of messages to two variables only provided that; for the reasons to be recorded, a third variable may be allowed in case of exigency.

The Telcos were given Thirty days for complying with the regulations.

New Direction

With the Regulations provided the Access Providers and Principle Entities are requesting for several modification in the regulation to avoid inconvenience to the public.

TRAI after considering the request come up with the following changes in the regulation already provided.

According to New notification the Access Providers before approving the Template and Header should adhere to the followings

  • In special circumstances and on requisition with reasons and proper justification from Principal Entity, more than three variables in the content templates is allowed.
  • Ensure the use of only whitelisted URLs/ Apks/ OTT links/ call back numbers in the content template.
  • Ensure that, in case of an URL containing both fixed and variable parts, the fixed part of URL is whitelisted.
  • Monitor the use of content templates and further, stop any misuse of special templates.
  • Update the Code of Practice accordingly within fifteen days and furnish compliance report of the above direction within forty five days from date of issue of the direction (i.e., 12th June 2023) .

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Thus with the above regulation TRAI is trying to bring down the unnecessary and unsolicited messages from reaching the consumers in the name of Telemarketing.

With Forty Five day deadline the Telcos need to speed up the process to comply with the directions from TRAI.

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