India’s telecom regulator (TRAI) is considering using blockchain technology in more areas such as mobile number portability after its successful implementation for checking unsolicited commercial communication (UCC) or pesky messages and calls.
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) chairman RS Sharma has said that Indian carriers Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular that are using open source platforms to put in place a system to sift through unwanted calls and messages on a more granular level using blockchain.
“This is the first time in the world that we’re using blockchain for UCC, and we will take it to other areas, having done this trial and gained this knowledge. For instance, mobile number portability, which can be kept completely on blockchain,” Sharma told. The present way to check the origin of a number is through dipping.
“Telcos are doing very good work (on UCC), and using open source technology, which means there are no silos, even if they’re using different operators,” the chairman added. Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio have engaged players like IBM, Tech Mahindra, and Tanla Solutions to implement blockchain for UCC, after TRAI – in July 2018 – directed them to use it to reduce unwanted communication.
It also fixed stiff penalties ranging from Rs 1,000 to Rs 50 lakh per violation in a month on telcos that don’t comply with guidelines to check the menace. Telcos and the regulator have worked together for quick implementation, the deadline for which is the month-end.
Thus, with the world-first technology, the nuisance being caused primarily by unregistered telemarketers or freelancers will be put to a stop as every complaint a consumer files against such agencies will be accessible to all in realtime and be addressed automatically. “The protocol will be set into motion that, for instance, not allow this particular number to send out more than let’s say, 20 messages a day, thus limiting the number,” the chairman explained. Sharma said the technology will empower consumer consent as the regulator will also standardise headers, content and granularity — in terms of timing, sectors and sub-sectors — which will get further streamlined with machine learning and artificial intelligence.
“This is a completely new ball game which is happening at a huge scale. Consent framework has been made absolutely explicit and more granular, such that you can give consent but can’t have deemed consent,” he said.