Given the failure of India’s “Do Not Call Registry”, which has been unable to effectively contain unsolicited calls and text messages from telemarketers, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, last month, asked for comments to be submitted to it on whether the Do Not Call Registry has failed, whether a do call registry should be set up, whether there should be a limit to the number of calls and SMS from a wireless or wireline number, among other things. Keep in mind that SMS and Out-bound Diallers (OBDs) are key means of marketing mobile value added services for both telecom operators and VAS companies, and some consumers might be open to receiving certain types of communication, so a blanket ‘no-call’ rule would be an extreme step, just as unrestrained telemarketing needs to be done away with.

Tomorrow is the last date of submitting your comments to the TRAI at advqos@trai.gov.in. The questions you need to send your views on (for details refer to this consultation paper):

4.1. What are the primary factors for poor effectiveness of Telecom Unsolicited Commercial Communications Regulations, 2007 (4 of 2007) in its present form? Give your suggestions with justifications. (Reference Para 2.3)
4.2. Do you feel that there is need to review the existing regulatory regime of Unsolicited Commercial Call (UCC) to make it more effective? What needs to be done to effectively restrict the menace of Unsolicited Commercial Communications (UCC)? (Reference Para 2.3)
4.3. Do you perceive do call registry to be more effective to control Unsolicited Commercial Communications as compared to present NDNC registry in view of discussions held in para 2.4 to 2.9? Give your suggestions with justification. (Reference Para 2.10)
4.4. Do you perceive the need to control telecom resources of telemarketers to effectively implement provisions of Unsolicited Commercial Communications and to encourage them to register with DoT? What framework may be adopted to restrict telecom resources of defaulting telemarketers? (Reference Para 2.11.3)
4.5. Do you agree that maximum number of calls as well as SMS per day from a telephone number (wireless as well as wireline) can be technically controlled to force telemarketers to register with DoT? What other options you see will help to effectively control telemarketers? (Reference Para 2.12.4)
4.6. Do you envisage that second screening at SMSC as proposed in para 2.12.3 will effectively control unsolicited SMSs? Give your comments with justification. (Reference Para 2.12.4)
4.7. What changes do you suggest in existing provisions to control the Unsolicited Commercial Communications effectively? Give your suggestion with justification. (Reference Para 2.13.6)
4.8. Do you agree that present panel provisions to charge higher tariff from telemarketers are resulting in undue enrichment of service providers? What penalty framework do you propose to effectively control UCC without undue enrichment of service providers? (Reference Para 2.13.7)
4.9. Do you feel that present UCC complaint booking mechanism is effective? What more can be done to enhance its effectiveness? (Reference Para 2.13.8)
4.10. Do you feel that there is a need to enact legislation to control the Unsolicited Commercial Calls? Give your suggestion with justification. (Reference Para 2.13.9)
4.11. Do you agree that definition in para 2.14.1 correctly define Unsolicited Commercial Communications in Do Call registry environment? Give your suggestions with justification. (Reference Para 2.14.2)
4.12. Do you feel that proposed framework to register on NDCR will be user friendly and effective? What more can be done to make registration on NDCR more acceptable to customers as well as service providers? (Reference Para 3.7)
4.13. In your opinion what are the various options which may be adopted for setting up and operating the NDC registry in India? Among these suggested options which options do you feel is the most appropriate for implementation and why? Give your suggestion with justification. (Reference Para 3.8.3)

Some stats regarding the National Do Not Call (NDNC) registry in the consultation paper:

– In year one, 19,163 telemarketers registered with the Department of Telecommunications (DOT). 18 million telephone subscribers also regsitered, out of the then total subscriber base of more than 344 million, registered with the NDNC. Around 40% were from the metros of Delhi, and Mumbai, while other significant states included Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab.
– At the end of March 2010, about 27292 telemarketers registered with the Department of Telecommunications and around 65.82 million subscribers registered for the NDNC Registry, around 10.59% of all telephone subscribers in the country. The NDNC is being accessed daily by around 2000 telemarketers for scrubbing their calling list, still huge complaints of receiving unsolicited commercial calls from subscribers continue.
– A total of 3,40,231 complaints relating to unsolicited calls were received from the date of establishment of the NDNC registry till March, 2010. Against these complaints, 9,158 warning letters were issued to registered telemarketers. Further, a total of 31,905 numbers were charged Rs.500/- and a total of 16,836 numbers were charged Rs.1000/- for violation. Also 14,735 line of registered telemarketers and 37,348 lines of unregistered telemarketers were disconnected.
– As per the recent reports submitted by service providers, they have received 55,167 DNC violation complaints during the period of three months from November 2009 to January 2010. Against these complaints, the service providers have charged higher tariff of Rs 500 or Rs. 1000/- from 10,073 telemarketers and 9,927 Telephones of the Telemarketers were disconnected.

Note: MediaNama will submit its comments, and publish them for your reference tomorrow.