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Trai advises telcos to show calling name to verify unsolicited calls, reports ET Telecom

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To prevent unsolicited calls, the telecom regulator in Mumbai recommended that network operators display callers’ names on mobile phones and require smartphone makers to enable this feature within six months. The calling name presentation service will be implemented nationwide before trials begin. The feature will be enabled by the access provider who received the call and users with call identification restriction will not have their names displayed. Trai also recommended displaying the names of business or telemarketers making calls, allowing subscriber entities to use their preferred names, and preventing misuse of the feature. The regulator did not address OTT players implementing the service.

Mumbai: In another move to check unsolicited calls, the telecom regulator has recommended that all network operators should implement the caller’s name display service on mobile phones and all smartphone makers should be mandated to enable this feature within a stipulated time.

In its recommendations issued Friday on calling name presentation (CNAP) service, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) said, “the government should issue appropriate instructions for making CNAP feature in all devices sold in India, after a suitable cut-off date, say after six months from the date of notification.”

The pan-India implementation of CNAP shall precede trials in one license service area where all operators must participate.

The feature will originally be enabled by the terminating access provider who received the call by making a query to the central subscriber database of provider from where the call originated.

Trai, though, has suggested that the calling name of the mobile users who have availed of the calling line identification restriction (CLIR) facility, should not be presented to the called party.

The regulator had started consultation on the subject back in 2022, seeking suggestions on a potential model on how the service can be implemented.

Telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw had also previously said that a person receiving a call should know who is making it.

And that includes all kinds of calls, be it a normal voice call, WhatsApp call, Facetime, or any other OTT call.

Subsequently, then Trai chairman P D Vaghela said at India Mobile Congress 2022 that the regulator would unveil a discussion paper on compulsory caller ID on phones.

However, Trai did not touch upon the subject of OTT players implementing the CNAP service.

In the recommendation document released Friday, Trai said that the 140-number series allocated for businesses or telemarketers making calls to subscribers should also be displaying the name of calling entity.

Further, Trai has recommended that subscriber entities holding bulk connections and business connections should be given the facility of presenting their ‘preferred name’ in place of the name appearing in the CAF (customer application form).

Such preferred name, it said, could be the ‘trademark name’ registered with the corporate affairs ministry or the ‘trade name’ registered with the GST Council, or any other such unique name duly registered with the government.

Trai has also called on DoT to formulate guidelines for documents to be provided by subscriber entities holding bulk connections and business connections for registering their ‘preferred name’ with telcos.

The regulator has also suggested that DoT stipulate necessary rules for preventing any misuse of this facility.

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