Pesky calls/SMS: Govt cracks down on tele-marketers

S Ronendra Singh New Delhi | Updated on July 06, 2021

DoT sets graded penalty for violations; to set up intelligence unit for better policing

In a bid to curb unsolicited messages and calls from tele-marketers, the government is tightening the rules, with a fine of ₹10,000 and disconnection of all resources based on the number of violations.

“Subscribers will have the option to opt out from the promotional SMS by sending an SMS — STOP — to 1909. This will block all the promotional communications from all the headers registered against the said entity except transactional messages,” the DoT said in a notice.

Sources told BusinessLine that the Department of Telecommunications is also creating a Digital Intelligence Unit (DIU) at the Central level and Telecom Analysis for Fraud Management and Consumer Protection (TAFCOP) at Licensed Service Area (LSA) field units of DoT.

Financial penalty

According to the notice, in case of Unsolicited Commercial Communications (UCC) by Registered Tele Marketer (RTM), the DoT has set graded financial penalty. For instance, 1-10 valid calls by RTM will attract ₹1,000 fine per call in the first month then ₹5,000 fine per violation plus a ‘Disconnection’ warning letter. It proposes a fine of ₹10,000 per violation and disconnection of all resources on the third of UCC violation.

In case of an UCC by an Unregistered Tele Marketer (UTM), after verification of the authenticity of the complaint, the reported connection will be re-verified. The reported number would be put under usage cap such as 20 calls and 20 SMS per day and no data till the re-verification is completed. The person will also need to give details of all the SIMs issued.

This is to avoid re-verification of numbers that match the same proof of identity/address, the DoT notice added.

The above provisions may require implementation under the Telecom Commercial Communication Customer Preference Regulation, 2018 in consultation with Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, it said.


Backhaul connectivity

Meanwhile, the Digital Communications Committee (DCC) has approved provision for cellular backhaul connectivity through V-SAT, implementation of BharatNet in 16 States via the PPP mode and referred the SUC charges and Adjusted Gross Revenue for Internet Service Providers to a committee.

Published on July 05, 2021

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