COAI red-flags Trai's new draft rules on pesky calls and messages

The Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) has raised concerns on the new draft rules proposed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to check pesky calls and messages, as operators will have to bear additional costs to put in place a new system.

In May, Trai had proposed the use of blockchain technology to check the menace of unsolicited commercial communications (UCC) or pesky communications. However, the industry body, which represents private telecom operators, including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Reliance Jio, said a number of obligations contained in the draft rules will require operators to incur additional capex and opex in the new systems and technology which proposes to completely change the existing system.

COAI has reiterated its concerns to Trai through a letter dated July 13. The industry body had met Trai officials on June 18 and had also written to Trai on June 20. “…the new proposals will lead to complex processes and huge costs for telecom service providers, without any substantial benefits. The regulation would be beneficial only for vendors who would be providing the technology,” COAI said.

A Trai official told Business Standard it has been proposed in the draft regulations that operators can pass on the costs of technology to telemarketers. “The operators are free to install the new technology either on their own or they (operators) can involve third parties to set up the technology, the cost of which can be compensated by telemarketers,” the official said.

However, telecom operators feel that as cost will rise for telemarketers, they may switch to over-the-top players for their marketing. 

Trai had given time till June 11 to all stakeholders for submitting their comments. The rules are likely to be notified in the next few months.

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