Trai pushes for caller name display on all phones to tackle spam

Representational image: ImYanis/Shutterstock

New Delhi: In a bid to empower subscribers and curb the incessant nuisance of spam calls, Trai has recommended the incorporation of caller name display functionality across telecom networks. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Friday recommended that Calling Name Presentation (CNAP) Supplementary Service be introduced in telecom network and that the service involving display of caller names on phones be offered by all telcos to subscribers on request.

The government should issue suitable instructions for making CNAP feature available in all devices sold in India after a suitable cut-off date, once recommendations are accepted, the Trai said. Put simply, CNAP is a supplementary service that enables the caller's name to flash on phone screens when someone calls. The name identity information provided by the telephone subscriber in the Customer Application Form (CAF) should be used for the purpose of the service, Trai said in its recommendations.

While native smartphone tools and third-party apps like Truecaller and Bharat Caller ID & Anti-Spam also provide calling party name identification and spam identification facilities, these services are based on crowd-sourced data, which may not be reliable, Trai noted in its recommendations.

Preferred name may be displayed
Trai suggested that all access service providers provide CNAP supplementary service to their telephone subscribers upon their request.

"The subscriber entities holding bulk connections and business connections should be given the facility of presenting their 'preferred name' in place of the name appearing in the Customer Application Form (CAF)," Trai said in a release. This "preferred name", Trai explained, could be the "trademark name" registered with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, or the "trade name" registered with the GST Council, or any other unique name duly registered with the government.

However, this is contingent on subscriber entity's ability to present the necessary documents to prove the ownership of such name.

Trai also outlined a technical model for implementing the CNAP service in the Indian telecommunication network as part of its recommendations. This followed a request from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) in March 2022 for Trai's views on CNAP. Trai then initiated a consultation process in November 2022, soliciting feedback from stakeholders, the public, and the industry. After receiving comments and conducting an open house discussion in March 2023, Trai finalized its recommendations based on stakeholder input and its own analysis.

It may be recalled that industry body COAI, whose prominent members include Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone Idea, had earlier contended that the implementation of Calling Name Presentation (CNAP) should not be made mandatory but kept optional for telecom operators.

COAI had flagged technical, privacy and cost-related concerns with regulator Trai to argue its point, in early 2023.

Truecaller welcomes move
Meanwhile, in a statement on Friday, Truecaller welcomed "all efforts in the mission to make communication safe and efficient in the interest of Indian consumers".

"The recognition of Caller ID as an important building block of the information communication economy is encouraging since we strongly believe that number identification is crucial to end the menace of spam and scam calls," the 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," the statement said. Given its technology and AI capabilities, Truecaller said its offering goes beyond just providing a basic number identification service.
(With PTI inputs.)

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