TRAI Directs Telecom Providers to Set Up Digital Platform for Customer Consent to Curb Promotional Calls, Messages


In order to curb the menace of pesky calls and sms, telecom regulator TRAI has directed service providers to develop a unified digital platform in two months to seek, maintain and revoke customers’ consent for promotional calls and messages.

In the first phase, only subscribers will be able to initiate the process to register their consent for receiving promotional calls and sms, and later, business entities will be able to reach out to customers to seek their consent to receive promotional messages, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said in a statement on Saturday.

“TRAI has now issued a direction to all the access providers to develop and deploy the Digital Consent Acquisition (DCA) facility for creating a unified platform and process to register customers’ consent digitally across all service providers and principal entities,” TRAI said.

At present, there is no unified system to show the consent of customers for getting promotional messages.

“Considering the volume of work involved, TRAI has allocated two months time to develop such facilities by all Access Providers and thereafter implement it in a phased manner. This direction has been issued by TRAI under its Telecom Commercial Communication Customer Preference Regulations, 2018,” TRAI said.

Under the prevalent system, consent is obtained and maintained by various principal entities such as banks, other financial institutions, insurance companies, trading companies, business entities, real estate companies, etc.

The absence of a unified digital platform makes it impossible for telecom operators to check the veracity of consent.

“The DCA process shall have the facility to seek, maintain and revoke the consent of customers, as per the processes envisaged under TCCCP Regulation 2018. The consent data collected will be shared on the Digital Ledger Platform (DLT) for scrubbing by all access providers,” TRAI said.

Access providers, which include telecom players like Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone Idea, have been further directed to use a common short code starting with 127 for sending consent-seeking messages.

“The purpose, the scope of the consent, and the principal entity or brand name shall be mentioned clearly in the consent-seeking message sent through the short code,” the statement said.

Only whitelisted or approved web or app links, callback numbers, etc will be allowed to be used in the consent-seeking messages, it said.

“Further, access providers shall develop an SMS, IVR (interactive voice response), online facility to register unwillingness of the customers to receive any consent-seeking messages initiated by any principal entity,” the statement added. 

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