The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is working towards improving the affairs of the telecom industry in the country. Its latest move in this direction is an attempt to address the menace of missed calls (wangiri calls) to prepaid users in the country from International customers, which prod a customer to respond. In an official release, the TRAI issued a directive to all Access Service Providers (ASPs) that provide the ISD facility to prepaid mobile users. It has further stressed on an advisory to be issued to consumers via SMS at periodic intervals.
Finally, a curb on spam and scam missed calls? (Image credit: Getty Images)
TRAI notes that it has been receiving complaints from prepaid mobile users that they are subject to the menace of missed calls and scam calls from international numbers pertaining to winning prizes or lottery. The body further notes that these missed calls and scam calls are often from premium numbers, which charge high tariffs.
The TRAI has been in discussion with the service providers and the industry associations regarding this matter since October 2011. The TRAI has been seeking a way to implement measures to control the menace of missed calls. As per the new directive, TRAI believes that some miscreants have been taking the advantage of the ISD facility that has been provided on prepaid cellular mobile telephone service numbers by prodding consumers to unknowingly make ISD calls.
Further, the TRAI has directed all Access Service providers to do the following:
It now has to be ensured that ISD facility is not activated on prepaid SIM without the consent of the consumer. Prepaid consumers having ISD facility will now be required to be informed, through SMS under 10 days of date of issuing this direction that the ISD facility to them shall be discontinued after 60 days. If such consumers wish to continue using the ISD facility, then they need to give their explicit consent to avail this facility within 60 days of receiving the SMS.
Those failing to give their explicit consent to continue using ISD services after 60 days of receiving the SMS, shall have their services discontinued.
Importantly further, the directive seeks that within 10 days of the issue of the direction, all prepaid consumers need to be informed via SMS that they should not respond to missed calls from unknown international numbers, i.e., numbers with a prefix other than '+91' or other calls pertaining to winning prizes or lottery. According to this directive, consumers need to be sent these SMSes every six months.
Lastly, the directive seeks an easy and transparent opt-in and opt-out facility to the consumers of the cellular mobile telephone service for activating or deactivating ISD facility.