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What does Truecaller think about India’s Telecom Regulator’s plan to introduce Caller IDs?

Key points from Truecaller’s submission on TRAI’s consultation paper on introduction of caller ID in telecommunication networks

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“We believe that while this is a promising step to solve the spam problem, a lot more innovation is required beyond just identifying calls. Another area that is missing in the paper are measures to deal with spoofing and robocalls,” read the submission by Truecaller to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

The submission is part of the comments received by TRAI to its consultation paper on the introduction of Calling Name Presentation (CNAP) in telecommunication networks. You can read our summary of the paper here.

The company also batted for a “non-mandated approach”, suggesting that it is “working well” and that it should be encouraged by creating a “supportive ecosystem.”

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Why it matters: The comments submitted by companies to TRAI are important as TRAI’s paper looks to address the problem of unsolicited commercial communication which remains a nuisance despite a do-not-disturb (DND) registry. Moreover, it is crucial to note Truecaller’s submission because India is its biggest market and TRAI’s measure poses an existential threat to its business.

Overview of Truecaller’s comments: The submission by Truecaller seems to acknowledge the threat posed by TRAI’s CNAP measure tangentially. It hopes that the CNAP proposal can converge with Truecaller’s work. The submission also noted that spam calls and phone, and SMS-based scams remain an issue of concern in India.

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“An implementation of a CNAP system could be used as additional information that can help Truecaller users have more control over their communication,” read the submission.

  • Avoid unintended consequences: The company said that it was critical to ensure that the consumers do not have to bear the brunt of “unintended adverse consequences” in terms of increased cost of service, issues of quality due to increased call latency.
  • Concerns around gathering data: Truecaller said that TRAI’s suggestion of obtaining name identification of each subscriber through Customer Acquisition Forms may be fraught with danger because of the problem of fake SIM cards being procured and activated without proper identification.
    • The company also highlighted that an individual can obtain up to nine SIM cards which can help them hide the identity of the actual user of a mobile number.
    • It pointed out that there was value in “crowdsourced information to solve the fraud and scam challenge”, and that its service provides “additional context” to the user to make an informed decision when responding to a phone call.

What should be the next steps: “In terms of the way forward, we feel that it is important to do an assessment of different aspects of this issue by undertaking a study to evaluate potential consequences on consumers and the industry before deciding on next steps,” read the submission.

  • The company also called for an evaluation of existing technology and regulatory solutions to determine their effectiveness, gaps in implementation, and whether the current proposal addresses the same.
  • It stressed the need for a detailed study because CNAP implementation would require “significant investments in terms of technology and infrastructure.”

*Disclaimer: The post was edited on January 19, 2023, at 15:16, following editorial input. 

This post is released under a CC-BY-SA 4.0 license. Please feel free to republish on your site, with attribution and a link. Adaptation and rewriting, though allowed, should be true to the original.

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Written By

I cover several beats such as Crypto, Telecom, and OTT at MediaNama. I can be found loitering at my local theatre when I am off work consuming movies by the dozen.

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