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Curbing Unsolicited Commercial Communications

  • 04 Feb 2021
  • 4 min read

Why in News

Recently, the Delhi High Court (HC) ordered the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to ensure “complete and strict” implementation of the regulation issued by it in 2018 for curbing Unsolicited Commercial Communications (UCC).

  • UCC means any Commercial Communication which a subscriber opts not to receive, but does not include- any transactional message or any message transmitted on the directions of the Central Government or State Government or agencies authorized by it.

Key Points

  • Background:
    • A plea was filed by a company in the HC claiming that millions of its customers have been defrauded by the phishing activities over the mobile networks and the failure of the telecom companies to prevent the same has caused financial and reputational loss.
      • It claimed that under the regulations, the telecom companies are required to verify purported telemarketers seeking registration (called registered telemarketers or RTMs) with them before granting access to their customer data and also take action immediately against all fraudulent RTMs.
      • Phishing is a cybercrime in which a target or targets are contacted by email, telephone or text message by someone posing as a legitimate institution to lure individuals into providing sensitive data such as personally identifiable information, banking and credit card details, and passwords.
      • It contended that the telecom companies are violating their obligations under the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preferences Regulations (TCCCPR) 2018, to curb the problem of unsolicited commercial communications.
  • High Courts Direction:
    • To TRAI:
      • Ensure “complete and strict” implementation of the regulation issued by it in 2018 for curbing UCC.
    • To Telecom Service Providers (TSPs):
      • Ensure strict compliance with the TCCCPR 2018 issued by TRAI.

Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preferences Regulations (TCCCPR) 2018

  • It replaced the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations, 2010 (2010 Regulations).
  • It was issued by the TRAI to provide a revised regulatory framework aimed at regulating 'unsolicited commercial communication' (UCC) in India.
  • The new regulatory framework has devolved control and regulatory powers to access providers, who are now required to establish their own codes of practice (CoPs) to deal with UCC.
  • It provides for a wide range of customer preferences which are to be implemented in near real time using Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) to make communications traceable and capable of being controlled effectively.
  • It also provides for the use of cloud-based solutions for handling complaints, the registration of headers and preferences, and use of smart contracts for automated allocation of roles between entities in the commercial communication ecosystem.
    • The technology-based solutions are required to be tested in regulatory sandboxes under the oversight of the TRAI.


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