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TRAI Counters Apple

Amid stand-off with iPhone maker Apple, TRAI has inserted a clause in its proposed regulation on pesky calls, which will make it compulsory for all devices to provide access to call logs and SMSes required for the functioning of ‘do-not-disturb’ kind of mobile apps.

“Every access provider shall ensure that all devices registered on its network shall support all permissions required for the functioning of such apps as prescribed in the Regulations 6 (2) (e) and regulations 24 (2),” TRAI said in a corrigendum to draft rules on May 30. The clause 6 of the Telecom Commercial Communication Customer Preference Regulation, 2018 is about arrangements that telecom operators should make to facilitate registration of complaints, change in choice of subscribers, mode of filing complaints or registration required to bar pesky calls and SMSes.

To file complaints against pesky calls and SMSes, subscribers are required to share phone number, time, date and the purpose for which they received them. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has developed a do-not-disturb mobile app using which user can select mobile number of pesky caller from their call log and also pesky SMSes after opening the application. The US-based smart devices major Apple is the only company that has refused access to call logs and SMSes that are required for filing complaints through DND app. Apple did not comment on the query sent to it in this regard.

Telecom operators industry body said the issue between TRAI and Apple should be resolved by the regulator itself instead of putting the responsibility on service providers. “We have to ask ourselves a question what is legal implication of this order. Apple can sue us. This is a matter of legal enforcement on handsets. The intent behind this is to make Apple do what they have been trying to do, put their (TRAI DND) app on their App store,” COAI Director General Rajan S Mathews said. He said that when US government had an issue with Apple, they went to court to resolve it and didn’t approach network operators to prohibit Apple on their network.

Apple sells mobile phones in the premium segment that accounts for 4 per cent of the overall smartphone market in India and three brands – Samsung, OnePlus and Apple – contribute to 95 per cent of the overall share in the segment, according to Counterpoint Research. According to CyberMedia Research (CMR), Apple was on top in the last quarter of 2017 with the launch of iPhone X and iPhone 8/8Plus, but the shipments of devices from the company to India declined by 74 per cent in first quarter of 2018. The proposed regulation is at consultation stage and is open for public comment until June 11.

The draft proposes that mobile subscribers should be able to revoke permission anytime that they have given to a commercial entity through mobile app, website, SMS etc and the same should be updated in the blockchain based system within 24 hours. It proposes more power for customers under new rules to control such communications and penalty in the range of Rs 1,000 to Rs 76 lakh per month on violators depending on the degree violation. Subscribers can exercise all the functions proposed under the regulation through a mobile app. – The Indian Express

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