TRAI Imposed Rs. 35 Crore Fine on Telcos for Failing to Curb Pesky Calls, SMS: Telecom Minister

Telecom regulator TRAI has imposed a penalty of Rs. 34.99 crore on service providers for failing to curb pesky calls and SMS on their network, Parliament was informed on Friday.

Union Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha said that as per the reports, telecom operators have disconnected 15,382 and 32,032 connections during the calendar year- 2021 and 2022, respectively, for violating Telecom Commercial Communication Customers Preference Regulation (TCCCPR), 2018.

“TRAI has imposed financial disincentives of Rs. 34,99,98,000 on the Access Service Providers for failing to curb unsolicited commercial communications in their networks from Registered Telemarketers,” Vaishnaw said.

Last month, TRAI directed service providers to develop a unified digital platform in two months to seek, maintain and revoke customers’ consent for promotional calls and messages.

In the first phase, only subscribers will be able to initiate the process to register their consent for receiving promotional calls and SMS, and later, business entities will be able to reach out to customers to seek their consent to receive promotional messages, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had said in a statement then.

Access providers, which include telecom players like Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone Idea, have been further directed to use a common short code starting with 127 for sending consent-seeking messages.

In survey conducted earlier this year, around 76 percent of respondents claimed that they had noticed a rise in pesky calls or SMS based on their conversations with WhatsApp business accounts and their activity on Facebook or Instagram.

Back in November last year, TRAI had said it was working on various technologies to detect pesky calls and messages along with a joint action plan with other regulators to curb financial frauds.

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