The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued two separate directions to access service providers under the Telecom Commercial Communication Customer Preference Regulations, 2018 (TCCCPR2018), and TRAI Act, 1997, to ensure that all promotional messages are sent through registered telemarketers (RTMs) using approved headers and message templates on distributed ledger technologies (DLT) platform, and also to stop misuse of headers and message templates.

TRAI has observed that headers and message templates of principal entities (PEs) are being misused by some telemarketers. To stop the same, access service providers have been directed to reverify all registered headers and message templates on DLT platform and block all unverified headers and message templates within 30 and 60 days respectively. They have been asked to ensure that temporary headers are deactivated immediately after the time duration for which such headers were created. Additionally, TRAI has directed them to ensure that content variables in message template do not have flexibility to insert undesired contents. Entities involved in message transmission should be clearly identifiable and tracked, if required. They have also been directed to remove confusions among recipients of message and prevent their misuse, no look-alike headers (headers which are similar by virtue of a combination of small case or large case letters) are to be registered by access providers in the names of different PEs. 

Further, to curb messages from unauthorised or unregistered telemarketers, including telemarketers using telephone numbers, access providers have been directed to bar all telemarketers, who are not registered on DLT platform from handling the message template scrubbing and delivery of messages to recipients through access providers’ network. Access service providers have been asked to ensure that promotional messages are not transmitted by unregistered telemarketers or telemarketers using telephone numbers. They have also been directed to take action against all such erring telemarketers as per the provisions of the regulations and also initiate actions as per relevant legal laws. The access service provider shall also notify details of such telemarketers to other access providers, who shall, in turn, bar these entities from sending any kind of commercial communications through their networks. 

TRAI has directed all telecom service providers to comply with the above directions within 30 days.