Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Wednesday said it held a meeting of Joint Committee of Regulators (JCoR) to discuss various possible collaborative approaches and measures to deal with Unsolicited Commercial Communication (UCC) or pesky calls and frauds through telecom resources.

The key issues discussed included the use of 140 series by the Principal Entities (PEs or entities making commercial communication using telecom resources) for making promotional calls; the use of 160 series by the PEs for making service and transactional calls for easy identification by the consumers; and role of PE, particularly entities in Banking, Finance Services and Insurance (BFSI) sector in prevention of UCC calls and messages.

It also suggested the acquisition of digital consents by the PEs through a digital consent acquisition (DCA) system established by the telecom service providers (TSPs) through a simple and transparent process with due verification from the customer using OTP. DCA also permits revocation of the consent by the customers.

Further, it suggested whitelisting of Urls/ apps /OTT links/ call back numbers in the content templates and control of frauds using telecom resources and further strengthening the know your customer (KYC) process.

Collaborative initiative

The JCoR is a collaborative initiative by TRAI to study regulatory implications in the digital world and to collaboratively work on regulations. The meeting was attended by representatives from RBI, Securities and Exchange Board of India, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and Ministry of Home Affairs, the sector regulator said.

“UCC is a major source of inconvenience to the public and impinges on the privacy of individuals. UCC is also adopted for misuse by fraudsters. Various possible collaborative approaches and measures to deal with UCC and frauds through telecom resources were discussed in the meeting,” the telecom regulator noted.

Last week, Anil Kumar Lahoti, Chairman, TRAI had informed that the regulator will soon come out with a consultation paper, next month.

Significant revision

“We are going to significantly revise the regulations so that all these problems of UCC can be resolved...will tighten the mechanism, clamp down on calls being made from normal 10-digit numbers and other forms of misuse. we are working on it and soon come out with a consultation paper next month,” he had said adding that the Consumer Affairs Ministry, too, is working on the issue of tackling UCC.

However, according to a senior DoT official, there is no mechanism to control UCC and it was unlikely too because as newer technologies emerge, a lot of ways to counter those mechanisms are being developed by these pesky call companies.

Meanwhile, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) that represents TSPs, has said that that the guidelines, once notified, will be helpful in addressing the menace of UCC substantially as it will put a deterrence on the unregistered telemarketers.

“We look forward to progressive action from the authorities to ensure a level playing field in regulatory compliance requirements between TSPs and other messaging platforms providing similar communication services,” SP Kochhar, Director General, COAI, said.