Trai asks telecom companies to implement AI spam filters

08 May 2023


Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has asked telecom companies to stop sending promotional calls on 10-digit mobile numbers, in order to combat unwanted communication calls and messages from unknown numbers.

The move is a significant step by Trai to protect consumers in India from fraud and harassment by spammers and fraudsters who often use the facility to cheat people out of their money. There is an urgent need to combat the increasing cases of spam and the nuisance caused by such calls and messages to mobile phone users.
The government has asked telcos to implement a Call ID feature that will help customers identify the caller by showing their photo and name on the mobile phone screen.
Beginning 1 May, all telecom companies, including Airtel, Jio, Vodafone Idea, and BSNL, have to use AI spam filters for their call and SMS services. The filters will help identify and block fake and promotional calls and messages from various sources, 
Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio among others, are reported to have agreed to implement AI filters to block unwanted calls and SMS clips. 
While Airtel has confirmed this in an official statement and Jio has said it would implement the service soon, telecom companies are reportedly reluctant to implement the facility due to their own reasons, possibly including financial losses.
The new facility is besides the excising facility of DND (Do Not Disturb) that allows a mobile phone user to permanently block spam calls. A phone user can activate DND on his/her mobile number. Trai has a special service called the National Customer Preference Register (NCPR), which was earlier known as the National Do Not Call Registry (NDNC). It helps people stop spam calls. 
The National Consumer Preference Register ensures that DND activation only stops unwanted third-party commercial calls and not SMS alerts from your bank, online portals and services, or personal calls from others. To activate DND on the mobile number, one has to follow these steps:
Collect the list of categories with their codes from the telecom service provider, which may include those related to banking, hospitality, real estate, education, health, etc.
Choose the code for the category that you want to block and reply to the message. You will get a confirmation message from your service provider that your request has been received. Wait for 24 hours for the DND service to start working.
This, however, is a difficult to follow service as there is no separation of spam calls or fraud attempts> The new rules are a significant step towards protecting consumers from spam calls and messages and ease communication problems.

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