Telecom companies will start filtering commercial SMSes with unregistered content from January 31, 2021 in a bid to check flow of spam messages.
Thus, entities with unique header IDs (e.g. AX-TITAN) on the telcos’ distributor ledger technology (DLT) platform have time till January 31 to submit templates of all possible content they wish to send customers, The Economic Times reported.
Thereafter, telcos will block commercial SMSes originating from unregistered headers or whose content does not match filed templates. This is part of the sector’s second phase of blockchain implementation aimed at controlling spam messages, the report added.
In the first phase, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had in 2018 notified the Telecom Communications Customer Preference Regulations (TCCCPR), per which telcos could block SMSes originating from unregistered headers.
Anurag Aggarwal, Tata Communications’ director – messaging services, told the paper that the new “content scrubbing” would act as “significant roadblock for illegitimate activities in the future.”
He noted that India is among the biggest markets for “enterprise-to-person messaging and hence de facto target for fraudsters. And said: “Few countries worldwide have reached this maturity level when it comes to SMS monitoring and spam traffic management.”
The development comes after TRAI in November 2020 imposed Rs 35 crore collective penalty on eight operators including Vodafone Idea, Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) and Bharti Airtel for TCCCPR violations, which allowed cyber criminals to dupe customers via fake SMSes.
A payments company executive told the paper that telcos have since “swung into action immediately and user complaints of SMS fraud have fallen by almost 90 percent.”
Moneycontrol could not independently verify the report.
Airtel and Vodafone did not respond to queries, as per the report.
The report added that 223,816 headers and 484,000 content templates have been registered by 122,301 entities on the DLT till November 23, 2020.