Have you ever had a pesky call that ruined your morning with unsolicited, often aggressive offers of loans, real estate, or any other service? You’re not alone. An increasing number of mobile users receive such spam every day.
To undo this, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is planning to launch a new offensive against unwanted callers. A TRAI official told CNBC-TV18 that the regulator is looking to design a system that would allow service providers to display the caller’s name alongside the number.
According to the official, the display name will comply with the KYC (Know Your Customer) details shared by the subscriber of that particular number.
“TRAI is likely to leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning to target unsolicited commercial calls,” the official said, adding that the regulator is in talks with telecom service providers to develop these tools. .
The Caller ID feature is designed as a voluntary, consent-based program in that subscribers can choose whether or not to display their name. While that leaves the door open to unwanted callers, the TRAI official said this was a preliminary outline of the plan and the regulator would release a consultation paper on the matter and do the fine print.
If implemented correctly, it would be very similar to the caller ID feature offered by Truecaller. CNBC-TV18 reached out to Truecaller to find out if it would impact the company’s business.
“We welcome any action in the mission to make communication safe and efficient. Number identification is crucial to ending the threat of spam and fraudulent calls and we at Truecaller have worked without back on this important mission for the past 13 years. We appreciate this move by TRAI and would like to reiterate that we remain very supportive of this and any future initiatives they have,” a Truecaller spokesperson said.
Earlier this week, community-based social media platform LocalCircles released a report in which it found that 64% of 9,623 mobile users surveyed said they receive at least three spam calls a day.
According to the report, out of 9,533 respondents, 95% said they signed up for Do Not Disturb service, which is mandatory under TRAI rules, and still receive spam calls.
Additionally, 9,252 respondents said that 51% of these spam emails offer financial services, such as personal, business or home loans at low interest rates and/or top-ups on existing loans. Real estate offers, with callers urging mobile users to buy land or a house, accounted for 29% of all spam calls.
LocalCircles further asked 9,084 respondents how they deal with spam calls. Fourteen percent said they use a mobile caller ID/blocking app, such as Truecaller, while the same number said they only answer calls from known numbers/contacts. Forty-two percent of respondents said they answered calls and then blocked the numbers.
In total, LocalCircles surveyed over 37,000 people from 377 districts across India – 69% of respondents were male. According to the report, “Fines can deter spammers of unsolicited text messages and calls, but their success will depend on the enforcement mechanism and ease of reporting, such as ‘forwarding the message to a centralized number’.
First post: STI