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COAI statement on ‘Efforts towards curbing Unsolicited Commercial Communications (UCC)’



“COAI and its members are working closely with the Government and the Regulator towards addressing the issue of Unsolicited Commercial Communications (UCC).

TRAI’s Telecom Commercial Communication Customer Preference Regulation (TCCCPR), was introduced in 2018, to address the menace of UCC. TCCCPR is based on a technological solution, i.e. Blockchain – Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), to provide the best possible solution to curb UCC. This is the first and the largest use case of DLT in telecom, globally. This also involves multiple stakeholders, i.e. Telecom Service Providers (TSPs), Telemarketers, Aggregators, Principal Entities (PEs), etc.

Under TCCCPR, the industry has developed various modules over the DLT framework, which have been reasonably successful considering the noticeable decline in the volume of UCC originating from SMS over last couple of years. However, UCC from voice calls, is still an issue that the Regulator and TSPs are working together to address.

TSPs are currently working on bringing a few more models to address the issue of UCC through voice calls. The government has allocated the 140 series for promotional voice calls and has now prescribed the 160 series for transactional and service voice calls. These modules are being worked upon and designed under discussions between all TSPs and technology partners and will be implemented by TSPs in coming months.

Further, the Digital Consent Acquisition (DCA) framework is an important module developed by the TSPs, wherein PEs are required to digitally take explicit consent from the users for sending commercial/business communications. TSPs are trying to engage and onboard various PEs like Banks, Financial Institutions, Real Estate Agencies, etc. to implement the DCA framework.

COAI and its members are also part of the Committee formed by the Department of Consumer Affairs to tackle the menace of pesky calls from Unregistered Telemarketers. The Committee is working to prepare draft guidelines under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, to safeguard consumers from unwarranted commercial communications.

We believe that these guidelines, once notified, will be helpful in addressing the menace of UCC substantially as it will put a deterrence on the Unregistered Telemarketers.

While the industry continues to assist the DoT, the TRAI and the Department of Consumer Affairs etc. in addressing the UCC menace, we look forward to progressive action from the authorities to ensure a level playing field in regulatory compliance requirements between TSPs and other messaging platforms providing similar communication services.”

–   Lt. Gen. Dr. S.P. Kochhar, Director General, COAI

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