The department of telecommunications (DoT) will soon come out with a mechanism which would enable a caller’s name to flash on the screen when someone calls. The name would be as per the know-your-customer (KYC) record of subscribers with the telecom operators.
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) chairman PD Vaghela told FE that a consultation paper on this would be floated soon to seek stakeholders’ comments, as the department has received a reference to this effect from the DoT.
“We have just received a reference, and we will start work on this soon. Name as per KYC will appear when someone calls,” Vaghela said. He said Trai had been thinking on similar lines before the specific DoT reference.
He said the mechanism will enable the caller’s name to appear on the screen in accordance with KYC information collected by telecom companies, as per DoT norms.
Effectively, subscribers will get to know the name of a caller even if it is not saved in their phone book. Currently, some users can know the identity of such callers using apps like Truecaller. The limitation with such apps is that the data is crowdsourced, so it may not be 100% authentic — something which is guaranteed in KYC data.
An added advantage of the mechanism would be that recipients will be able to avoid spam and unsolicited calls or report them to the authority for necessary action. So far, despite several measures, Trai has not been able to stop unsolicited commercial calls in an effective manner.
Since the matter relates to policy, the final decision would be of the DoT and not Trai, which will only have to send in recommendations after widespread consultation with stakeholders. It is only in matters of tariff that Trai’s decision is final and the government has no role.
The Trai consultation paper will highlight issues and invite comments from stakeholders. The regulator will subsequently hold open house sessions in major cities, before finalising its recommendations.
The issue of privacy is likely to come up among concerns raised during this exercise. It is possible that some organisations may object to disclosing names without the subscribers’ consent.
Officials, however, said there is a way to provide safeguards if such concerns are raised.