The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on Tuesday suspended the implementation of norms for commercial text messages for a week after it came into effect on Monday, reported PTI. The decision to pause the second phase of SMS regulation came days after consumers complained of difficulties in getting the one-time password or OTPs from banks and e-commerce companies for payments, and Aadhaar authentication.
As per TRAI’s guidelines, every SMS content with a registered template must be verified before it is delivered. This process is known as scrubbing and was implemented on Monday after multiple delays. To control SMS frauds, a blockchain-based solution is used by telecom operators to check the header and content of every commercial SMS which comes from a registered source. Meanwhile, unregistered messages are simply blocked.
“It has been observed that some of the principal entities [senders of messages] have not fulfilled the requirements as envisaged in Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations, 2018,” the TRAI statement, released on Tuesday, read. “As a result, their SMS were getting dropped after implementation of the scrubbing of SMS by Telecom Service Providers. In order to protect the interest of consumers, it has been decided that scrubbing of SMS by TSPs [telecom service providers] shall be suspended temporarily for seven days to enable the principal entities to register the template of SMS so that no inconvenience is faced by the customers.”
Telecom service providers were also urged to inform their “principal entities”, or senders of messages, to take the immediate required action, and facilitate the registration, including SMS template in a “time-bound manner”.
Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of Tanla Platforms Uday Reddy praised TRAI’s decision to allow enterprises and telemarketers more time to comply with the new regulation, reported PTI.
Last month, the Delhi High Court had directed the TRAI to strictly ensure that telecom operators enforce regulations to stop the use of unsolicited commercial communication, and the use of fake SMS headers to dupe customers. SMS headers are unique IDs through which commercial text messages are sent.