Telecom regulator TRAI on Friday warned entities that need to send out bulk SMS messages, such as banks and e-commerce companies, that they would be barred from sending out such communications unless they fully complied with its telemarketing rules within three days. TRAI had been forced to suspend the newly-implemented rules for a week starting Tuesday after large scale disruptions occurred in SMS operations and many OTP messages from banks and companies failed to be delivered.
The regulator blamed the lack of compliance for the disruption, noting that the principal entities (that send out bulk SMSes) had had two years to register themselves as required by law. On Friday, TRAI said all such entities will have to register themselves within three days or face a bar on sending such SMSes.
“It has been decided that those principal entities that do not comply with the regulatory requirements within three days time period failing which the names of defaulting entities would be displayed on the website. Even after this period, if they fail to fulfil the regulatory requirements, they would not be allowed to send bulk communication using telecom resources,” TRAI said.
Telemarketing rules stipulate that principal entities, who need to send out messages, need to register with the messaging service provider, choose a header which will identify the entity in a few characters, register a content template, and take consumer consent before being allowed to send out bulk messages.
The process had been published by TRAI under the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations (TCCCPR), 2018, as far back as July 19, 2018, and the regulations had come into force on February 28, 2019.
The initial plan had been to weed out entities that had not complied through occasional scrubbing and on March 8, the regulator initiated just such a process. After this lead to the disruption in SMS traffic, TRAI put off the process by a week.
“Trai, hereby, once again requests all the principal entities (sender or businesses, private as well government bodies) using telecom resources to send bulk messages… to fulfil the regulatory requirements immediately,” TRAI’s Friday statement warned
TRAI urges RBI to direct banks to comply with new SMS rules
The TRAI has informed the RBI that the new SMS rules have been activated by telecom operators that include content scrubbing from March 17 but as of now, even the traffic which has failed in the content scrubbing is allowed to be delivered, to avoid the inconvenience to the consumers.
Earlier this month, the Indian Banks’ Association reached out to TRAI and RBI seeking postponement of the new SMS regulation.
The TRAI has now informed the RBI citing telecom operators that several banks have still not complied with the rule.
If banks fail to comply with the new rules, their communication to customers may be disrupted.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has urged the RBI to direct banks to comply with the new SMS rules, which when applied by the regulator, had caused OTP and SMS failure earlier this month. If banks fail to comply with the new rules, their communication to customers may be disrupted. The TRAI informed the RBI that the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations (TCCCPR), 2018, or the new SMS rules for pesky messages have been activated by telecom operators that include content scrubbing from March 17, 2021.
However, as of now, even the traffic which has failed in the content scrubbing is allowed to be delivered, to avoid inconvenience to the consumers. TRAI further noted citing a report by telecom operators that certain banks have still not complied with regulatory requirements, PTI reported. The news agency also cited sources who said that TRAI has also reached out to state government departments, chief secretaries, and all major government entities that send out bulk messages on the bulk message issue.
“It was observed that some of the principal entities have not fulfilled the requirements as envisaged TCCCPR, 2018 even after two years despite being fully aware of the regulations and the consequences,” TRAI in a statement noted.
“Unfortunately, despite repeated communication, all major banks and big telemarketers sending SMS have failed to fulfill regulatory requirements. All are being notified individually also. Trai has called for further reports from telecom service providers,” it added.
Earlier this month, the Indian Banks’ Association reached out to TRAI and RBI seeking postponement of the regulation. TRAI had accepted the request and temporarily delayed the new SMS rules by seven days after many customers faced problems with OTP transactions. As per TRAI’s new rules, all SMS messages have to be verified before they reach the users and all messages have to be registered in the TRAI DLT platform. These include communication messages like OTP, verification codes, notifications sent by businesses to their customers, etc.