“PEs are required to get content templates registered with the Access Providers. Any commercial communication through SMS is subjected to scrubbing against the content template registered by PEs with Access Provider,” said a release by ministry of communications.
PEs are entities like banks, other financial institutions, insurance companies, trading companies and businesses, among others.
According to the regulatory framework, any commercial communication may only take place using registered Headers assigned to the PEs for this purpose. Header is an alphanumeric string assigned to PEs under TCCCPR, 2018 regulations of TRAI, to send commercial communications.
The Telecom Commercial Communication Customer Preference Regulation (TCCCPR), 2018 regulations, protects customers from Unsolicited Commercial Communications (UCC) and also aids PEs to send commercial communication to those customers who have opted their services or set their preferences to allow such communications.
Why registration is necessary
TRAI said that it observed that some PEs have registered a large number of Headers and content templates and, at times, some of these are misused by some telemarketers.
In order to stop the misuse of Headers and templates, TRAI issued a direction on February 16, 2023, wherein all PEs were asked to reverify all registered Headers and content templates on Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) platform and block all unverified headers and message templates within 30 and 60 days, respectively, from the date of issue of direction.
TRAI said that several PEs have not yet completed the verification of Headers and content templates, which makes them “vulnerable for likely misuse and may result in inconvenience to the public in the form of spam and also financial frauds.”
“In February 2023, TRAI wrote to RBI, SEBI, NHA and all Central/State Government Departments requesting them to sensitise all institutions/departments, under their ambit, who send bulk SMS, about the action required to be taken at their end to ensure that header and message templates are not misused,” the ministry said.
The telecom regulator will review the re-verification progress in the next two weeks and may issue appropriate directions, if required.