The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (Trai) move to make it mandatory for service providers to flash caller’s name on the phone screen when users receive calls, would not adversely impact Truecaller, which currently provides this service to subscribers who download its app. Instead, the app would neatly co-exist with Trai-enabled services, Rishit Jhunjhunwala, chief product officer & managing director, Truecaller India, told FE.
Jhunjhunwala said that the company offers much more than just providing caller identification solutions, and will add more features which would ensure that the app remains popular with users even after Trai comes out with the calling name presentation (CNAP) service which every telecom service provider would have to offer as a rule.
He said that Truecaller provides internet-based calling services similar to WhatsApp calls. The company has recently launched a feature called Assistant in the US, which is an AI-powered digital assistant and spam detector. The feature uses machine learning to answer and screen calls, filters spam and shows the user who is calling and why. Truecaller will soon launch this solution in India also, he said.
“If we were providing just the caller ID, then it (Trai’s solutions) would have been almost a direct replacement. But because of the fact that Truecaller does a lot more in a user’s life, than just providing caller ID, we will coexist nicely,” Jhunjhunwala said, adding that the company has co-existed in other countries which offer a similar kind of government-backed caller ID solutions.
For Truecaller, India is an important market comprising 70% of its global user base of 331 million.
Apart from providing voice-based solutions and protecting users from unwanted calls, the company also offers services like spam-free inbox to segregate spam messages, Jhunjhunwala added.
“We do a lot of work on SMS as well, simply because we know that SMS is also a medium that is used for spam and scam a lot. And because we are extremely privacy conscious on all the SMS services that we provide, like detecting if it’s spam or detecting if it’s a scam, sorting the messages neatly into folders. Everything takes place entirely on the device maintaining data privacy,” Jhunjhunwala said.
He said that the company’s expertise in operating in the segment for the last 10-12 years, clarity about spam and scam patterns, and its advanced technology can in many ways support the newly proposed caller identification solution by the Trai.
“We will be open to partnering with Trai. We have had brief conversations with them about this (caller identification solutions). But since the solutions pitched by Trai are in early consultation, we are also looking at how we can partner with them and other government bodies,” Jhunjhunwala added.
One of the reasons, cited by Trai for making it mandatory for caller’s number flashing on the screen is that the current services offered by apps like Truecaller are crowdsourced and hence not always authentic and reliable. In comparison the Trai facility when it comes into force would be based on the name of the customer as per the know your customer (KYC) record, hence would be 100% reliable.
Speaking on the subject, Jhunjhunwala said that if there are regulations made in this regard even Truecaller will insist on KYC for users registering on its app. Currently, users can register without going through any mandatory KYC checks.