Mobile subscribers will have to wait till March 21 to get relief from unwanted calls and SMSes as telecom regulator Trai has extended the deadline for implementing new rules to curb this menace for the third time.
This regulation was to be initially implemented on January 1. The deadline was later extended to February 1.
Subsequently, TRAI gave a second extension to the telecom operators, giving them till March 1 to implement the rules.
Now the new deadline for implementing this regulation is March 21.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has cited the delay in allocation of a uniform number series for fixed line telemarketers by the Department of Telecom as the main reason for the latest deferral.
“The number series for fixed networks are still not allocated by DoT. The matter has been taken up on an urgent basis to allocate the number series to telemarketers for fixed networks,” TRAI said in a statement.
Access providers have indicated that it will not be possible to provide all the resources to call centres from fixed line networks due to the high traffic volumes originating from such call centres, the statement said.
Telecom regulator believes that the number series for fixed phones will be issued shortly by the DoT.
This new series will have to be implemented by all access providers before allocation of resources to telemarketer.
Access providers have sought additional time from the regulator as they need to change the configuration in their system and test the new series.
In this new amendment, TRAI has asked all access providers to withdraw all existing telecom resources (including mobile and fixed phone connections) by March 20.
Earlier, these resources were to be withdrawn by February 28.
On the other side, a senior DoT official cited a number of issues related to the allocation of a uniform number series, as issued for telemarketers using mobile phones.
He said adding a uniform numbering series prefix for landline connections means changing STD codes. This will have security implications, as security agencies will find it difficult to trace numbers.
In addition, telcos will face billing problems as it will be difficult for them to identify the telecom network from which calls are coming, he added.
Furthermore, a three-digit prefix like the ‘140’ series will take the total number of digits, including the STD code, in a landline number to 13 and only a few telephone exchanges will be able to transmit these long numbers.
State-run telecom companies MTNL and BSNL have indicated a minimum timeframe of three and nine months, respectively, to make the requisite changes in their network. These companies have an over 80 per cent market share in fixed phone segment.