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TRAI in talks with telcos to implement caller ID feature to combat spam calls

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TRAI in talks with telcos to implement caller ID feature to combat spam calls

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The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is planning to devise a system that would allow service providers to display the name of the caller alongside the number. The name to be displayed will be as per the KYC details shared by the subscriber of that particular number. TRAI is likely to leverage Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in this regard.

Ever had a pesky call ruin your morning with unsolicited, often aggressive, offers of loans, real estate, or any other service? You're not alone. A growing number of mobile users receive such spam calls on a daily basis.
To nullify this, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is planning launch a fresh offensive against spam callers. A TRAI official told CNBC-TV18 that the regulator is looking to devise a system that would allow service providers to display the name of the caller alongside the number.
As per the official, the name to be displayed will be as per 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 planned as a consent-based, voluntary programme, in that subscribers can choose whether or not to have their names displayed. While this leaves the door open for spam callers to opt out, the TRAI official said this is a preliminary outline of the plan, and that the regulator will release a consultation paper on the issue and hammer out the fineprint.
If implemented properly, this would be very similar to the Caller ID feature offered by Truecaller. CNBC-TV18 has reached to Truecaller for a comment on whether this would impact the company's business.
"We welcome any and all action in the mission to make communication safe and efficient. Number identification is crucial to end the menace of spam and scam calls and we, at Truecaller, have been working tirelessly towards this important mission for the past 13 years. We appreciate this move by TRAI and would like to reiterate that we remain very supportive for 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 stated that 64 percent of 9,623 mobile users surveyed said they receive at least three spam calls per day.
According to the report, of 9,533 respondents, a whopping 95 percent said they had registered for the Do Not Disturb service, which is mandatory under TRAI rules, and still receive spam calls.
Further, 9,252 repondents said a staggering 51 percent of these spam calls 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, comprised 29 percent of all spam calls.
LocalCircles further asked 9,084 respondents on how they handled spam calls. Fourteen percent said they use a caller identification/blocking mobile application, such as Truecaller, while the same number said they answer calls from only known numbers/contacts. Forty-two percent of the respondents said they answer the calls and then block the numbers.
In all, LocalCircles surveyed more than 37,000 people from 377 districts across India — 69% of the respondents were men. The report said, "Fines may discourage spammers from unsolicited SMS and calls, but its success will depend upon the implementation mechanism and ease of reporting, such as “forwarding the message to a centralised number”.
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