1. Trai to further crack down on spam calls, SMS

Trai to further crack down on spam calls, SMS

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India will soon add more muscle to its Do Not Disturb (DND) initiative.

By: | New Delhi | Published: May 6, 2017 5:58 AM
Trai will be adding more consumer friendly features on its DND Services app

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) will soon add more muscle to its Do Not Disturb (DND) initiative. The regulator on Friday said it will also roll-out an app that enables subscribers to rate the service quality of a phone call. The ‘mycall’ app would be available by the end of this month, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) chairman RS Sharma said at ‘Digital Broadcasting in India – Way Forward’, a seminar to commemorate the completion of 20 years of the regulator’s formation.

“We would like the consumers to assess the quality of calls, through ‘mycall’ app, which will be rolled out by this month end,” he said.

Put simply, once downloaded, the new app would give the subscribers the choice of assessing the quality of all or a portion of calls. When the call is completed, the users will be able to rate it, and the data will thereafter be analysed by the regulator.

“The application will pop up a window and enquire about the quality of the call. The subscriber can give it one star to five stars. There will also be assessment parameters like whether the call was indoors or outside or while travelling,” he said.

The government and the regulator have refused to lower their guard on the issue of call drops, and have kept a close watch on call quality through initiatives like drive tests and automated call system.

Last year, when instances of call drops spiked, the government and the regulator made a co-ordinated effort tackle the issue through deliberations with the industry.

The DoT has set up an IVRS or automated call system, which makes random calls to subscribers to check status of call drops. The system is helping the government in identifying blind spots in areas that do not receive mobile signals or get weak ones.

Trai through its analytics portal has also rolled out initiatives that measure data speeds and maps call drops in India, which is the world’s second largest telecom market with 1.12 billion mobile subscribers.

Sharma on Friday said that Trai also plans to “strengthen” the ‘Do Not Disturb’ or DND service aimed at blocking pesky calls by telemarketers.

“We have already done a lot of work in this,” Sharma said, but refused to elaborate on the upcoming plans.

At present, there is a framework for DND registry that allows telecom subscribers to block unwanted communication from telemarketers. Reaching out to such subscribers can result in a heavy fine for telemarketers.

A source familiar with the initiative said that the regulator may look at building specific intelligence features into the system such that pesky messages with certain key words could automatically generate a prompt on whether the users wishes to report the message as a spam.

Speaking on the occasion, Communications Minister Manoj Sinha said TRAI’s regulatory framework has provided a conducive environment for the sector’s growth.

It has made the sector more competitive and enhanced accessibility of services at affordable tariffs, he added.

“Awareness of the some of the main challenges faced by the sector and regulatory framework of today – ranging from convergence to the persisting issue of the digital divide – is therefore necessary to be better equipped to handle these challenges in future,” Sinha said.

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