Trai gives 30 days to telcos to check misuse of telemarketing message templates

New Delhi: Regulator Trai on Friday directed telecom operators to take action against misuse of telemarketing messages templates within 30 days to curb pesky messages.

The regulator in the direction said that it has noticed some telemarketers are misusing headers and content templates of enterprises.

“Unsolicited Commercial Communication (UCC) is a major source of inconvenience to the public and impinges on the privacy of individuals and Trai has been taking various steps to curb it. Today, Trai has issued a direction to stop misuse of message templates under Telecom Commercial Communication Customer Preference Regulations, 2018 (TCCCPR-2018),” the regulator said.

Instead of mobile numbers, the authorised telemarketing messages display headers which is indicative of the company from which it has come.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has directed telecom operators to make changes in the code of practices (CoPs) around headers and content templates of telemarketing messages under the TCCCPR 2018 rules and comply with the direction within 30 days.

The regulator said that look-alike message titles or headers are creating confusion among recipients of messages and are being misused by some of the entities for their gains.

Trai said that the number of variables in a template is not defined in CoPs, which leads to misuse of the same, and moreover, the promotional content is being passed in the variable portions of content templates.

“…in order to minimize the said misuse, the number of variables allowed in content template needs to be limited in a way that not only gives PEs (Principal Entities) enough flexibility to phrase their content but at the same time, there are reasonable restrictions on number and placement of variables,” the regulator said.

Trai has directed telecom operators to re-verify all headers registered on blockchain based messaging platforms within 30 days and block unverified headers.

It has asked telecom operators to develop a system within 60 days to temporarily deactivate all headers which remain unused for 30 days.

Telecom operators are required to set up an online process to reactivate headers for the messages and ensure that each header is distinct.

Trai’s direction requires telecom operators to re-verify all content templates within 60 days and block unverified templates.

Telecom operators are required to incorporate procedures for quarterly re-verification of headers and content templates in their respective CoPs, under the Trai direction.