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SMS Spam Regulations To Come Into Force Soon; DoT To Release Landline Number Series For Telemarketers

Finally, after months of dilly dallying, the SMS Spam regulations will hopefully see the light of the day. The Department of Telecomm (DoT) is set to announce a dedicated set of landline numbers that would be used to identify unwanted telemarketing calls in a month, reports The Economic Times, citing a senior Telcom Ministry official as its source.

The saga had unfolded with the TRAI asking the DoT to allocate an easily-identifiable number series for telemarketing companies. While a series beginning with ‘140’ was allocated to mobile services, there has been a delay in allocating the same for landline numbers.

The delay was attributed to various technical, billing and security concerns raised by DoT, saying that the series of ‘140’ for landline numbers would impact the current numbering system for allocation of new connections since calls from landline numbers are identified based on the STD code as well as digits following STD codes, which differ from exchange to exchange within a city. It also stated that to transmit 13-digit landline numbers on telecom networks, especially for caller line identification, BSNL and MTNL would need to install new equipment in exchanges andthe new series would make tracking calls difficult for security agencies as it will display a countrywide uniform code instead of STD codes.

Following DoT’s concerns, the TRAI had postponed the implementation of the new guidelines indefinitely. However, TRAI Chairman, JS Sarna had informed MediaNama in March, that the authority was going to come out with an announcement on the status of implementation of the SMS Spam Regulations in the next 15 days. Unfortunately, it took three months to come out with a solution.

As it stands now, the TRAI would introduce the National Customer Preference Register, which is a modified version of the Do Not Call Registry list. A maximum fine of Rs 2.5 lakh would be levied on telemarketing companies making unsolicited calls or SMSes to a consumer registered under the registry.
The registry offers subscribers options of the ‘Fully Blocked’ category (on the lines of ‘Do Not Call’) and the ‘Partially Blocked’ category, under which they can choose to receive SMSes in the categories chosen by them.

We hope that the TRAI meets its deadline and there is the long-awaited relief from the flurry of spam SMS and calls, coming our way!

TRAI: Announcement On SMS Spam Regulations In 15 Days
– Ridiculous: TRAI Postpones Do Not Call Regulations Indefinitely
– TRAI Do Not Call, SMS Spam Regulations Postponed Again Till 21st March
– TRAI Postpones SMS Spam Regulations Till March 1st; Changes Number Series
– Details Of TRAI’s New SPAM Call And SMS Regulations

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