New Delhi: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has taken steps to combat the misuse of message templates used for commercial communication by companies. Trai has directed telecom operators to restrict the use of message templates to only three variables in order to prevent the manipulation of messages for the purpose of spamming consumers. The use of such templates is managed by telecom operators through distributed ledger technology (DLT) platforms, which require businesses involved in bulk promotional or transactional SMS to register by submitting their business details, including sender IDs and SMS templates.
Trai has instructed access providers to designate a separate approving authority for content templates involving more than three variables, with each variable part needing to be pre-tagged for the purpose it is proposed to be used. This move aims to improve the quality of commercial communication and reduce the amount of spam being sent to consumers. Additionally, only whitelisted URLs, Apks, OTT links, and call back numbers shall be allowed in the content template.
In February, Trai directed telcos to block all unverified and unused headers and templates within 30 days and 60 days, respectively. However, some genuine templates, such as those for IRCTC ticketing information, stock trading information, and information with respect to sugarcane procurement and settlement, require more than three variables, and hence the limit of up to three variables in a content template is not sufficient.
Trai’s directive gives additional time to telecom operators and principal entities to implement its previously issued directives aimed at curbing the misuse of headers and message templates. This move shows the regulator’s willingness to work with the industry to ensure that commercial communication is conducted in a responsible and ethical manner.
The misuse of message templates has been a longstanding issue, and Trai’s directive is a step in the right direction towards curbing this problem. By restricting the use of message templates to only three variables and designating a separate approving authority for content templates involving more than three variables, Trai is taking proactive measures to prevent the manipulation of messages for the purpose of spamming consumers. Additionally, only allowing whitelisted URLs, Apks, OTT links, and call back numbers in the content template will also contribute to improving the quality of commercial communication.
It is crucial for telecom operators to comply with Trai’s directive and ensure that their systems are updated and modified to prevent the misuse of message templates. By working with the industry, Trai can ensure that commercial communication is conducted in a responsible and ethical manner, benefiting both businesses and consumers. The move towards regulating commercial communication will foster an environment of trust and transparency, which is essential for the growth of any industry.