News Corner: TRAI Suspends Anti-Spam Regulations

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On March 9, 2021, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (“TRAI”) temporarily suspended the operation of the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations, 2018 (“TCCCP Regulations”). 

The TCCCP Regulations were intended to curb the menace of Unsolicited Commercial Communication (“UCC”), which caused inconvenience and annoyance to consumers. UCC is any commercial communication which is neither as per the consent or as per registered preference of a recipient, but this does not include any transaction communication or any communication directed by the Central or State Government. Essentially, there are what we understand as “spam messages” or “spam calls” in common parlance. 

Earlier, all Telecom Service Providers (“TSPs”) were directed to take measures for onboarding the Principal Entities (“PE”) (senders of messages). This included informing the PEs about the provisions of the TCCCP Regulations and making them aware of the template of the message. In layman terms, the PEs sending UCCs are required to register the message header and template with TSPs as contemplated by the TCCCP Regulations. In order to allow transactional and governmental communication, blockchain platforms are used to identify them against the pre-registered template.

However, it was observed that some PEs didn’t fulfill the requirements mandated as per the TCCCP Regulations, therefore, their messages were dropped due to the scrubbing of messages by the TSPs. SMS services faced major disruptions on the 7th of March and 40% delivery failure was observed. Disruptions were observed in OTP deliveries, banking communications, railway tickets and Co-Win registrations.

Hence, in order to protect the interests of the customers, TRAI decided to temporarily suspend the implementation of TCCCP Regulations. This suspension would enable the PEs to register the message template and give due regard to the TCCCP Regulations.


Reported by Eishan Mehta, Researcher at IntellecTech Law.

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