Telcos in Final Stages of Operationalising New Blockchain Tech for Curbing Pesky Calls: Trai

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Mobile operators are in final stages of operationalising Trai-prescribed new system for curbing pesky telemarketing calls, and consumers will begin to experience benefits of the new 'blockchain' framework in a month, Trai Chairman R S Sharma said on Monday. Sharma said that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) would review the progress made by operators in this regard in the first week of July. "We will review in the first week of July, as to what was the progress of each entity, but the last I reviewed - I was informed that everybody is ready or in the final stages of operationalising it," Sharma told PTI.

Last year, the regulator had tightened the rules to curb pesky telemarketing calls and messages, asking telecom operators to leverage the blockchain technology to reduce such unwanted communications.

The overhaul of the unsolicited commercial communication (UCC) system aimed to ensure that telemarketing messages are sent only to those who have subscribed to them, and that too by authorized entities. Operators who fail to check pesky calls and SMS menace or do not adhere to the guidelines will face a stiff penalty.

The mandated granularity in customer preferences will also permit subscribers to set preference about days and time bands in which they would like to receive commercial communications as well as indicate preferred modes of communication - call or SMS.

The rules lay down stringent obligations for operators, including evolving Code of Practices, maintaining records, registering customers preferences, and mandate the adoption of blockchain or the Distributed Ledger Technology. Blockchain provides a decentralised database or digital ledger of transactions that everyone on the network can see.

"The blockchain technology is soon going to be operational in controlling unsolicited communications. This will be the first instance of an implementation of the blockchain technology in this area globally, and we are looking forward to the results," Sharma said.

He said that telecom consumers would start seeing the benefit of the new system in a month or so.

The turnaround for reporting complaints and action will be "much faster" as the underlying blockchain framework would allow UCC related data to be shared on a real-time basis, he added.

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Chakri is a go-to guy for your next smartphone recommendation. Back in his engineering days, he used to play with smartphones by installing custom ROMs and that passion got him into the tech industry. He still goes nuts about a smartphone knocking his door for review. Currently managing everything at Telecom Talk, Chakri is trying to master PUBG Mobile in his free time.

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