TRAI on Unsolicited commercial calls (UCC)

TRAI is one active body constantly engaged in publishing research papers, statistics and consultation papers. TRAI is actively championing efforts to control the telecom landscape be it blocking of stolen mobiles, taking care of unsolicited calls, controlling radiation emitted by mobile towers… unsolicited-2 They most recently came up with set of norms to take care of the increasing commercial call menance. Every mobile user in the country is bombarded with commercial text messages and unsolicited commercial calls (UCC). It’s a menace to be honest and it is only increasing every passing day! unsolicited-1 Some of the norms proposed are: Every Mobile operator in the country should setup a customer preference registration facility through which customers can register or deregister from receiving commercial calls/sms. This facility can be accessed either through TOLL FREE numbers or by texting an SMS to 1909 short code. Mobile operators should sufficiently publicize about this facility to the customers. The facility should allow users to block all commercial calls or only commercial calls from selected categories such as real estate, banking etc., Every mobile operator should maintain atleast two copies of the ‘Provider Customer preference register‘. The Register would include details such as Name of the customer, Telephone number, date and time of request, details of preference. Every mobile operator should share this ‘Provider Customer preference register’ with ‘National Customer preference register‘, which will be maintained by third party agency. The idea is to build a national level common registry which is constantly updated and accurate. Customers who have already registered in the ‘National Do not Call registry‘ (NDNC) would be automatically included in this ‘National customer preference register’ with an assumption of blockage to every commercial calls. Customers can change the preferency anytime. Mobile operators should not charge the customer for this service. Telemarketers engaged in initiating commercial calls should be registered with ‘National Telemarketer register’. The details should contain registration number, application number, fee deposited, telecom resources allocated, number of notices/complaints received, whether blacklisted or not. Telemarketer would be blacklisted when they have violated the norms 6 times in a year. Mobile operators should set up customer complaint registration facility which is again toll free and can be accessed through short code 1909. When a customer complaint is received, mobile operator should verify the complaint by checking against Call Detail Record (CDR) and should forward the complain to ‘National Telemarketer registry’ and to the ‘Originating mobile operator’. Telemarketers can make calls only between 9 am to 9pm and not during other hours. Telemarketers would be assigned mobile numbers starting ’70’ to enable customers to easily identify that the call is from a telemarketer. Similarly, every SMS sent by telemarketer should contain unique SMS header. Telemarketers will be penalized upto 2.5 lakhs depending on the number of complaints received and will face the prospect of complete blockage if found severely violating the norms. Telemarketers should check against the ‘National customer preference registry’ before sending sms or initiating the call. In addition, mobile operators are required to filter the calls against the registry. This two-stage screening should be robust enough to filter out the unsolicited commercial calls. Mobile operators found violating the norms would be penalized 1 lakh for first violation, 5 lakhs for second violation and 10 lakhs for further violations. Every telemarketer and mobile operator would be allowed to download the ‘National customer preference registry’ from the website The categories of commercial calls include 1. Banking/Insurance/Financial products/credit cards, 2. Real Estate, 3. Education, 4. Health, 5. Consumer goods and automobiles, 6. Communication/Broadcasting/Entertainment/IT, 7.Tourism and Leisure. How to register preference through SMS SMS START 0 to 1909 to fully block commercial calls. SMS START 1-7 to 1909 to partially block a category. SMS START 1,2 to 1909 to block multiple categories (comma separated) Overall good set of norms and these steps should significantly bring down the Unsolicited calls problem. The entire report can be downloaded here

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