Considering the difficulties faced by consumers due to OTP (one-time-passwords) disruption, telecom regulator TRAI has suspended regulations for commercial text messages for seven days.
This action has been taken so that ‘principal entities’ can register content templates and so that no user faces inconvenience.
“In order to protect the interest of consumers, it has been decided that scrubbing of SMS by telecom service providers shall be suspended temporarily for seven days”, read a statement released by TRAI.
Disruption in OTP Services
Lakhs of mobile phone users were facing disruption in receiving OTP after telecom companies on Monday initiated the implementation of Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations (TCCCPR), impacting a host of OTP services including banking, E-commerce, and Aadhaar.
According to the guidelines released by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), every SMS had to be verified before it is delivered – a process known as ‘scrubbing’.
In order to implement ‘content scrubbing’, a Hyderabad-based software company, Tanla, in partnership with telecom operators, had been checking the header and content of every commercial SMS, and any unregistered SMS was simply being blocked.
This process impacted the OTP services on 8 March.
A banking source on condition of anonymity told The Quint, “ We started receiving several calls from customers since morning about OTPs not being received on their devices. Many people could not transfer funds, and log in to their netbanking accounts”.
Where Was The Problem?
As per the TRAI guidelines, every text or message by a business had to be approved by DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology) companies. Accordingly, entrepreneurs and businesses had to register their content templates.
Telemarketers alleged that even a small change in content like a full stop was dropping the OTP messages.
“Exactly what we feared is happening today...it’s a crazy situation so far. Even normal promotional messages are getting dropped by small changes in content like a full stop. TRAI must intervene and address the situation at the earliest because if they won’t, ultimately RBI will,” a head of A2P SMS business had told The Economic Times.
So...Was Tanla At Fault?
Tanla Solutions, the implementing partner of DLT for telecom companies, had clarified that there were no problems with its servers but the problem lay with the businesses who had not fully complied with the prescribed content template.
Uday Reddy, Chairman & CEO, Tanla Platforms Limited, had told The Quint, “The concern over non-delivery of OTPs is arising due to multiple issues across enterprises and telemarketers from the time TRAI enforced the header registration on 8 March, 2021. Firstly, not all enterprises and telemarketers have registered the header and content of commercial SMSs. There have also been issues with registered templates too, as they did not fully comply with the prescribed format. Our platform is operating at full efficiency and there are no issues at Tanla’s end. In fact, we are working closely with enterprises and telemarketers to comply with the regulation.”
Reddy had further clarified that Tanla’s implementation of the blockchain-based Trubloq platform was in compliance with the TCCPR regulations issued by the telecom regulator TRAI.
“Since Trubloq’s commercial launch on 1 September 2020, Tanla has onboarded more than 34,000 enterprises and the DLT platform currently processes around 70 percent of A2P traffic in India, topping more than 1 billion interactions in a single day recently,” he added.
What About Cellular Operators?
Meanwhile, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), an association firm representing Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Reliance Jio, had said that telecom service providers requested all the principal entities to get their content template registered with them at the earliest.
“TSPs are following TRAI regulations and have activated due process of content scrubbing to address the issue of unsolicited commercial communication,” Lt Gen Dr SP Kochhar, DG, COAI, had said.
“TSPs have sent various communications to the principle entities to register their content template with the TSPs before 7 March 2021. We request all the PEs to get their content template registered with TSPs at the earliest, and help TSPs to address the issue of unsolicited commercial communication,” he added.