Trai recommends mobile network providers display names of callers | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Trai recommends mobile network providers display names of callers

Feb 24, 2024 10:36 AM IST

Trai recommends network providers in India offer Calling Name Presentation as an optional feature, displaying names to receivers during phone calls.

New Delhi: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has recommended that network providers allow callers to display their names to the receiver when they make a regular phone call, suggesting the service be introduced as an optional extra.

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Representative Photo)
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Representative Photo)

The feature is called Calling Name Presentation (CNAP) and Trai recommended on Friday that it be rolled out as a supplementary service across the Indian telecommunication network and on all devices sold in India.

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In its suggestion, the telecoms regulator said that each network provider – a company like Airtel or Jio first carry out a trial and assessment in one licensed service area (LSA) with the subscriber base of each TSP in that LSA.

The name, the regulator suggested, should be the one used at the time of registering for the number. In case the person’s name has changed since getting the phone number, Trai suggested that the Department of Telecommunications issue guidelines to TSPs to amend the names using “verifiable identity documents issued by the government”.

In case of bulk and business connections, the subscribers should be given the option to display their “preferred name” which must be a name that is registered with the government, such as a ‘trademark name’ registered with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, or the ‘trade name’ registered with the GST Council.

For registered telemarketers allocated the 140 series or other callers engaged in transactional services, Trai has recommended the name be always displayed to the called party.

Trai released a consultation paper on the issue in November 2022 at the reference of the Department of Telecommunications and held a virtual open house in March 2023. The DoT will now decide if these recommendations should be formalised through guidelines or changes to the license conditions of TSPs.

The company which has been most affected by this move is Truecaller, which over the years has been working with different ministries, departments and law enforcement agencies to label spam and scam callers.

While welcoming the move, a Truecaller spokesperson said: “With regards to CNAP, we do not see that it would be a competitive service comparable to the full range of services and functionality that Truecaller offers to our more than 374 million users. With our technology and Al capabilities, Truecaller goes beyond just providing a basic number identification service. We believe that the current Trai recommendations can even be a driving catalyst for our continued growth in India, as more people discover our offerings.”

During the consultation, the three biggest private TSPs in the country - Airtel, Jio and Vodafone Idea - said implementing CNAP would increase call set-up time and increase latency, thereby affecting quality of service, and would require significant investments. They also said currently, only 4G-enabled devices can support CNAP because of which a large portion of the market wouldn’t be able to avail the facility.

All three had raised privacy concerns related to the move as well. Industry body IAMAI too had submitted that CNAP would undermine the right to privacy and have an adverse impact on women’s safety.

“There can be myriad reasons for the customers not being willing to share their name with the called party. A few of these can be potential fraud and risk of abuse, misbehaviour, social media stalking etc. We are already witnessing multiple cases where the abuse and inappropriate behaviour starts the moment called party is speaking to a person of the opposite sex, which can only increase when the name is also available,” Jio had written.

Airtel had said that significant costs would be involved in setting up a separate server and database for CNAP. Vi had said that legacy nodes for 2G/3G might not be able to support CNAP while feature phones and landline phones might not be able to display the numbers.

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