New SMS Templates Hard for 50% Business to Understand and Implement: Report

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Telecom operators have reached a consensus on pushing the deadline for businesses to implement new SMS content templates in their system. The reason cited by the telcos to push the deadline from January 31, 2021, until further notice is that approximately 50% of businesses couldn’t understand the new SMS templates. Since they couldn’t understand it, they couldn’t apply it. The 50% businesses which couldn’t understand the new blockchain-based SMS system included banks, government agencies, and other financial institutions — more details on the story ahead.

Implementation of the System Now Would Have Caused Havoc

Some industry executives told ET Telecom that marking January 31, 2021, as the last date for implementing the new SMS-template system would have caused havoc amongst the companies and the general public. This is because multiple financial institutions and UIDAI, which helps with Aadhaar authentication to avail Direct Benefit Transfer have not integrated the new SMS system with their APIs.

Important transaction messages or SMSs such as OTPs would have been blocked which would have brought half the country or more of it at hold. So now the telcos have decided to extend the date until further notice to help the businesses in adopting the new SMS system.

As per a directive from the Telecom Communications Customer Preference Regulations, every business in the country which wants to send out bulk-SMSs to the users need to register their new SMS content template, header name, and the content which will be sent out.

To reduce SMS frauds, the telecom department and telcos kicked off the first phase of this operation back on September 1, 2020, which blocked dubious and unregistered headers from reaching out to the users. This alone has reduced SMS frauds by up to 90%, which is a staggering number.

The telemarketers have an opinion on the matter as well. They say that while the new system is efficient in reducing SMS fraud, it should not be forced upon the businesses just yet. This is because the industry will need some time to adapt to the new system; nothing happens in a very short frame of time.

It is worth noting that the telecom department had put a penalty of total Rs 35 crores against Airtel, Jio, Vodafone Idea (Vi) and the state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL). This was because of violating the customer preference regulations that the department said allowed the cybercriminals to send fake SMSs in bulk to India's users.

The final date or deadline to implement the new SMS content template system is yet to be announced by the telcos.

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