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SMS, OTP services disrupted due to new anti-spam rules by telcos, bank transactions, Co-WIN registrations hit

The implementation of these regulations came into effect on Monday when the big telcos started blocking commercial SMSes originating from unregistered headers or whose content did not match filed templates to control spam messages

March 09, 2021 / 01:54 PM IST

The implementation of new regulations for commercial texts by telcos led to massive disruption in SMS services on March 8 affecting OTP delivery for a host of services such as bank transactions, credit card payments, railway ticket bookings and even Co-WIN vaccine registrations, according to an Economic Times report.

The report stated that nearly around 40 percent of the nearly one billion daily average commercial SMSes failed to deliver.

Top private and public sector banks witnessed a failure rate of about 25 percent until the evening of March 8, 2021. The blame was shifted on the telecommunication companies for faulty implementing the new regulations which include the onus on telecom companies to verify each SMS content sent with the registered text before its delivery.

Moneycontrol could not independently verify the report.

Telecom companies pushed back and pinned the blame on companies and their lax adoption, which have failed to comply with regulatory standards. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) drafted regulations to check the pesky calls and messages sent to customers in a bid to crackdown on financial frauds and erring telemarketers.


The implementation of these regulations came into effect from 12 am on March 8, 2021, when the big telcos started blocking commercial SMSes originating from unregistered headers or whose content did not match filed templates to control spam messages.

However, this led to disruptions in services including Unified Payments Interface (UPI), Aadhaar enabled Payments (AePS), net banking and credit card payments due to lack of registration of sender ID and content, according to at least five banking and payments industry sources, the report said.

Moneycontrol couldn't independently verify the report.

“We have been unable to onboard new customers which require two-factor vetting,” said an industry executive of a mid-sized payment company. “These experiments should be done on a weekend and not on the first day of the week when traffic is the most on most platforms."

According to the report, the Indian Banks' Association also reached out to TRAI and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) seeking an immediate postponement of the regulation.

An official at TRAI told the publication that constant reminders were sent to banks regarding the impending deadline for the past 15 days. “We haven’t received any official complaint about any disruption,” the official added.

Meanwhile, SP Kochhar, director general of the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), an association representing telecom service providers with Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Reliance Jio as its core members, defended his position saying that the Telecom Service Providers had sent various communications to the principal entities (on whose behalf messages are sent) to register their content template with the telcos before March 7.

Earlier in January, it was reported that telecom companies will start filtering commercial SMSes with unregistered content in a bid to check the flow of spam messages.
Moneycontrol News
first published: Mar 9, 2021 10:51 am
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