The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has received fresh complaints about mobile users receiving unsolicited commercial communication (UCC) or unwanted text messages and calls from unregistered telemarketers (UTMs). 

In July 2018, TRAI had issued the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations, 2018 (TCCCPR, 2018) to put in place a framework for controlling UCC. With its implementation in a co-regulatory manner with support from all telecom service providers (TSPs), an ecosystem based on blockchain or distributed ledger technology (DLT) has been created. According to TRAI, DLT has given transparency amongst TSPs and the regulator in the management of UCC/spam. The regulation has mandated registration of all commercial promoters and telemarketers to register on DLT platform and seek customer consent for receiving various kinds of promotional messages at the time and day of their choice. There are about 250,000 principal entities registered with more than 600,000 headers and approximately 5.5 million approved message templates which are being pushed to consumers through registered telemarketers and TSPs using DLT platforms. This has resulted in a substantial reduction of customer complaints to the extent of 60 per cent for registered telemarketers (RTMs). Now, complaints are reported against UTMs, where surge has been seen in pushing various kinds of UCC SMSs. Additionally, UCC calls are also one of the concerns which need to be dealt with equally along with UCC SMSs.

To this end, TRAI is taking various steps in coordination with various stakeholders to check UCC from UTMs also. These steps include the implementation of UCC detect system, provision of digital consent acquisition, intelligent scrubbing of the headers and message templates, using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) etc.

In addition, TRAI has taken an initiative to form a Joint Committee of Regulators (JCOR) consisting of TRAI, Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Securities and Exchanges Board of India (SEBI) and Ministry of Consumer Affairs (MoCA) to frame joint action plan to curb financial frauds using telecom resources. In the recent meeting of JCOR held on November 10, 2022, which was attended by the representatives of Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) also, measures to curb the UCC were further deliberated in detail.