COAI to TRAI: Keep Norms on Spam Calls on Hold for Now

Telecom operators body COAI has urged TRAI to keep on hold its regulations on checking Unsolicited Commercial Communication (UCC), or spam calls and messages, till the time the regulator address the industry’s concerns related to deployment of blockchain technology, regulating apps among other issues.

In May this year, TRAI released the draft Telecom Commercial Communication Customer Preference Regulation, 2018, to check the menace of spam calls and messages.

COAI director-general Rajan S Mathews in a letter to TRAI last week said that a number of obligations in the draft regulations require operators to incur additional capex and opex in the new systems and technology, which proposes to completely change the existing system.

This new system being envisaged will lead to huge costs in terms of changes to multiple internal systems of the operators like CRM, SMSC, switch/core systems, billing, complaint handling, etc, as well as putting in blockchain systems, he said. “We has also submitted that the new proposal/regulation will lead to complex processes and huge costs for the operators, without any substantial benefits. In fact, the regulation would be beneficial only for the vendors who would be providing the technology, which TRAI has proposed in the draft,” Mathews added.

COAI said the proposed regulation are complex and will further encourage migration of traffic to over the top (OTT) players. “Already, there is a migration of UCC from SMS and Voice to OTT and large scale migration to OTT caused by the complexity of this regulation will render this solution redundant,” it added.

Hence, COAI has requested the regulator to keep on hold the issuance of the final regulation till the time the concerns raised by them is addressed, Mathews said.

On the use of distributed ledger technology (DLT), or blockchain, COAI in a meeting with TRAI officials in June said that using this technology for registering consumer preferences requires finalisation of vendor as commercial negotiations are involved. And hence has requested TRAI to provide at least 9 months post the finalisation of the Code of Practice by all operators. COAI also urged TRAI for more time for setting up the new complaint management system as it requires integration and framing of new IT architecture with specific set of rules.

On the regulation that it is the operators’ responsibility to ensure that all devices on its network shall support all permissions required for functioning of apps, COAI said operators are network providers, which any subscriber can use via a SIM, while devices (handsets) depend on consumers’ preferences. – Financial Express

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