To curb the threat of nuisance calls and texts, telecom regulator TRAI has instructed service providers to develop a unified digital platform within two months to request, retain and revoke customer consent for promotional calls and messages.
In the first stage, only subscribers can start the process to register their consent to receive promotional calls and SMS, and later on, corporate entities can contact customers to ask for their consent to receive promotional messages, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India ( TRAI) said in a statement on Saturday.
“TRAI has now issued an instruction to all access providers to develop and deploy the Digital Consent Acquisition (DCA) facility to create a unified platform and process to digitally register customer consent across all service providers and master entities,” according to TRAI.
At the moment there is no uniform system for showing customers’ consent to receive promotional messages.
“Given the amount of work involved, TRAI has taken two months to develop such facilities by all Access Providers and then implement them in a phased manner. This instruction has been issued by TRAI under its Telecom Commercial Communication Customer Preference Regulations, 2018,” according to TRAI.
Under the prevailing system, permission is obtained and maintained by various main entities such as banks, other financial institutions, insurance companies, trading companies, corporate entities, real estate companies, etc.
The lack of a uniform digital platform makes it impossible for telecom operators to check the veracity of the consent.
“The DCA process will have the ability to seek, retain and revoke customer consent, following the processes foreseen in the TCCCP Regulation 2018. The collected consent data will be shared on the Digital Ledger Platform (DLT ) for scrubbing by all access providers,” according to TRAI.
Access providers, including telecom players such as Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, have been further instructed to use a common short code starting with 127 for sending messages requesting permission.
“The purpose, scope of the consent and main entity or brand name will be clearly stated in the consent-seeking message sent over the short code,” the statement said.
Only whitelisted or approved web or app links, callback numbers, etc. may be used in the permission-seeking messages, it said.
“Furthermore, access providers will develop an SMS, IVR (interactive voice response), online facility to record customers’ unwillingness to receive permission-seeking messages initiated by a lead entity,” the statement added.