Commercial messages blocking to resume from April 1

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April 1, 2021 2:00 AM

The telcos, however, counter the claim saying that the failure rate is still high for some entities and the primary reason for rejection is variation in templates.

“All PEs are required to meet these requirements, in case of non-compliance, their messages are liable to be rejected,” Trai said.“All PEs are required to meet these requirements, in case of non-compliance, their messages are liable to be rejected,” Trai said.

Telecom operators will resume blocking of non-compliant commercial messages starting April 1, but customers are not likely to face much inconvenience as most of the senders, including banks are claiming a success rate of 98% in delivering messages as per the new template. The telcos, however, counter the claim saying that the failure rate is still high for some entities and the primary reason for rejection is variation in templates.

To avoid any disruption in the communication with customers, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has asked all telecom operators to inform all principal entities (PEs) like banks immediately, directly or through their telemarketers to comply with the requirements so that there is no disruption from April 1.

“It has been brought to notice that SMS of few PEs are getting rejected because of variable character length more than 30 characters and also due to variation in text submitted for delivery from the text registered at the time of content templates. The reason of variation in the text is told to be due to variation of text across multiple sources of the same PE,” Trai said in a letter dated March 31 to telecom operators, a copy of which was seen by Financial Express.

The letter also said that restriction of 30 characters and matching of static text are the requirements as a part of the code of practice and are important to achieve the objectives to curb spam. “All PEs are required to meet these requirements, in case of non-compliance, their messages are liable to be rejected,” Trai said.

The PEs and their telemarketers are repeatedly being urged to comply to prevent an outage of SMSes as had happened on March 8 when blocking under the new system was enforced. The day had seen around 400 million SMSes not being delivered, including OTPs from banks.

To prevent inconvenience to customers, Trai had temporarily suspended the rules for 7 days. On March 17, the norms came into force but operators were directed to not block any message, even the non-compliant ones. Telcos were asked to filter these non-compliant messages and report the entities that were not adhering to the new mechanism. The report was to be sent to banks and telemarketers at the end of each day. The blocking will now resume from April 1 as sufficient time has been given to all the entities to comply.

The new norms to filter out pesky messages provides for registration of senders, telemarketers, headers, content templates, consent templates, registration of fine-grained subscriber preference etc. A direction under the rules was issued to all telecom operators way back in January 2020 to take due measures for onboarding of senders of messages called principal entities.

During the last couple of years, Trai has repeatedly asked all stakeholders to follow the rules and various communications had been sent. On March 8, the telecom industry decided to start blocking all commercial messages, which were not sent in the prescribed format.

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