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DoT introduces 160xxxxxxx numbering series for legitimate service calls

Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has introduced a new numbering series, 160xxxxxxx for making service/transactional calls. This initiative is a step towards providing citizens with a way to easily identify such legitimate calls.

Currently 140xxxxxxx series has been allocated to telemarketers for making promotional/service/transactional voice calls. As 140xx series is being used extensively for promotional calls, consumers normally do not respond to such calls and many important service/transactional calls are missed. This has resulted in wide use of regular 10-digit numbers by genuine entities for making service/transactional calls. This also gave opportunity to fraudsters to deceive consumers using 10-digit numbers.

Hence, in order to create confidence among the consumers and to enable them to distinguish between the spam calls originating from 10-digit unknown numbers and the genuine service/transactional calls from genuine Principle Entities, there was a need of separate number series to cater service/transactional voice calls.

To fulfil this need, the DoT has allocated a new numbering series, i.e., 160xxxxxxx which will exclusively be used for service/transactional voice calls by the Principle Entities. This clear differentiation between service/transactional calls versus other types of calls will make it easier for citizens to manage their communication. Now, for example, the service/transactional calls originating from Financial Entities like by RBI, SEBI, PFRDA, IRDA, etc shall start from 1601.

Telecom Service Providers (TSP) shall be ensuring adequate verification of every entity before assigning a number from 160 series and the entity shall undertake to use it only for service/transactional calls as per Telecom Commercial Communication Customer Preference Regulation (TCCCPR), 2018.

Consumers can have more confidence in the legitimacy of calls from the 160xxxxxxx series, reducing the risk of falling victim to scams. For any suspected fraud communications, Citizen are advised to report it on Chakshu facility at Sanchar Saathi (www.sancharsaathi.gov.in).

The DoT encourages consumers to activate the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) Do Not Disturb (DND) feature to block unwanted promotional calls, further enhancing their protection against spam.

Details on New Number Scheme

Service Call means a voice call made to recipient either with his consent or using a template registered for the purpose, the primary purpose of which is to facilitate, complete, or confirm a commercial transaction that the recipient has previously consented to enter into with the sender; or to provide warranty information, product recall information, safety or security information with respect to a commercial product or service used or purchased by the recipient;

Transactional Call means a voice call which is not promotional in nature and is for the purpose of alerts to its own customers or account holders and information to be communicated by the voice call is time critical in the nature;

Promotional Call means commercial communication voice call for which the Sender has not taken any explicit consent from the Recipient to make such voice calls to him.

CT Bureau

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