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Telecom regulator defers roll-out of SMS ‘scrubbing’ system by 7 days

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has deferred the implementation of its SMS ‘scrubbing’ blockchain system by 7 days. In a press release published on Tuesday, TRAI deferred the implementation of the system after several complaints emerged from Monday morning onward that one-time passcodes (OTP) and other important transactional messages were getting blocked from delivery.

Under the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations, 2018 telcos have created a blockchain system in order to reduce fraudulent SMS deliveries. As part of the implementation of this system, banks, payment companies, government entities and other merchants sending SMS’ had to their customers had to register their specific SMS format with telemarketers and telcos. While the telcos went live with the system on Sunday at midnight, many merchants had not registered leading to OTPs and other messages getting blocked.

In its statement, TRAI said that in January last year, telecom service providers (TSPs) were required to take measures to on-board senders of messages and publish the requires of the new regulations in newspapers in order to get all senders on-boarded in time. However, the regulator says, many entities are yet to fulfill the requirements as under the customer preference regulations

“In order to protect the interest of consumers, it has been decided that scrubbing of SMS by TSPs shall be suspended temporarily for seven days to enable the principal entities to register the template of SMS so that no inconvenience is faced by the customers. TSPs are being requested to inform their principal entities to take immediate necessary action in this regard and facilitate their registration including SMS template in a time-bound manner”— Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Press Release March 9, 2021

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