DoT gives the nod for telemarketing companies to use ‘140' number series

Mobile subscribers can finally get to identify unsolicited commercial calls and SMS and take action against telemarketing companies. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has decided to allot the ‘140' number series to these companies.

So far four deadlines have been missed as the DoT and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) were unable to reach a consensus on how to implement the new and stricter guidelines on pesky calls, particularly on the issue of finding an identifiable number for tracking such calls and SMS.

The TRAI is now gearing to implement this, which could take another month before it starts taking action against those behind pesky calls and SMS. “After [the] DoT's clearance, we will take four to six weeks to implement the series,” said TRAI chairman J.S. Sarma. The DoT is likely to hand over the series in a day or two when the BSNL and the MTNL will upgrade their systems to implement the new numbering series.

The ‘140' series, which will be applicable for both landline and mobile phones, will help consumers recognise telemarketing calls or SMS; and if it is unsolicited, they can complain to the TRAI. As per the new TRAI guidelines issued last year, a maximum fine of Rs.2.5 lakh can be imposed on telemarketing companies for making unsolicited calls or sending SMS to a consumer registered under the National Customer Preference Register, a modified version of the erstwhile ‘Do not call Registry.'

Mobile subscribers have the option of choosing to be under the ‘fully blocked' category, which is akin to the ‘Do not call Registry.' A user can also choose the ‘Partially Blocked' category where he will receive SMS from select telemarketing companies.

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