The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), on Thursday, said all principal entities, like banks, financial institutions and the like, need to complete the process of verification of message headers and content templates immediately, as the regulator forged ahead with its drive to crackdown on pesky messages to safeguard consumers.

TRAI said that it will review the progress in the next two weeks and may also issue suitable directions, if required.

Any delay on part of Principal Entities (PEs) to get the re-verification of headers and content templates may result in the blocking of their headers, content templates and messages, the telecom regulator said.

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“It has been seen that many PEs have not yet completed the verification of headers and content templates. Due to lack of timely action by PEs, headers and content templates assigned to such PEs remain vulnerable for likely misuse and may result in inconvenience to public in form of spam and also financial frauds,” TRAI said.

As per the regulatory framework, any commercial communication can only take place using registered headers assigned to the PEs for this purpose. Header refers to an alphanumeric string assigned to PEs under the regulations to send commercial communications.

These commercial entities are required to get content templates registered with the access providers (telcos). Any commercial communication through SMS is subjected to scrubbing against the content template registered by PEs with access provider and, if it fails, then those SMSs are not allowed to be delivered to consumers.

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TRAI has observed that some PEs have registered a large number of headers and content templates and, at times, some of these are misused by some telemarketers.

To stop the same, TRAI, on February 16, 2023, directed for re-verification of all registered headers and content templates on distributed ledger technology (DLT) platform and block all unverified headers and message templates within 30 and 60 days, respectively.

In February, TRAI wrote to RBI, SEBI, NHA and all Central/ State government departments too, requesting them to sensitise various institutions and departments, under their ambit, who send bulk SMS, about the action required to be taken at their end to ensure that header and message templates are not misused.