Trai says commercial SMSs getting delivered smoothly

“Reports from telecom service providers (TSPs) indicate that no major issues have come to the notice leaving a few cases, and messages, which are in accordance to the regulations, are getting delivered successfully,” Trai said in an official statement Thursday.

New Delhi: The banking and financial services industry was able to successfully deliver 90% of its SMS traffic, including transactional and OTP messages, on Thursday when the telecom operators started the strict screening process to check spam SMSes. But promotional SMS traffic, which involves a more dynamic content, was still facing a failure rate of between 30% and 70% in various sectors, as per industry executives tracking the development.

“Reports from TSPs (telecom service providers) indicate that no major issues have come to notice leaving few cases and messages which are in accordance with the regulations are getting delivered successfully,” the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) said in a statement.

The authority has directed the operators to identify the cause of rejection of SMSes, if there are any and extend individual support to entities.

The overall delivery rate till late Thursday was 84.11%, meaning 600 million commercial SMSes have been able to pass the rigid filters, or SMS scrubbing, of the blockchain-based technology applied by telcos at their end. Of this, the top sectors of banking, communication & IT, and health had scrub success rates of 90.69%, 84.25% and 90.74%, respectively.

Scrubbing refers to the process that matches SMS content with a pre-registered template submitted by every principal entity that sends commercial text messages to its customers. If the content doesn’t match the template, the telcos block the message.

Industry experts say promotional SMSes should also stabilise in a week’s time.

“Entities are holding back on their bulk promotional SMSes to avoid the huge cost of undelivered messages, which may get blocked by telcos,” one senior executive said. “Thus, we have seen a massive drop on Thursday’s overall promotional traffic, which has come down from 1 billion to somewhere around 700 million.”

Every registered entity pays between 11.5 and 13 paise per SMS. Assuming Thursday’s failure rate of 120 million text messages, companies have incurred an expense of over Rs 1.4 crore on account of undelivered messages.

According to the Telecom Communications Customer Preference Regulations (TCCCPR) 2018, to check fraud SMSes, all senders of commercial communication must register their headers (sender ID), SMS content and subscriber consent of the distributed ledger technology (DLT) platform, which will only allow legitimate text messages to pass to the consumers.

Airtel, Jio, Vodafone Idea and BSNL did not respond to ET’s query seeking comment.

After multiple setbacks, enterprises and telcos have so far been able to implement the first two steps. As per latest figures, there are 250,000 headers and 1.525 million content templates registered on the DLT, which are the basis for matching and filtering each and every SMS.

Telemarketing companies, which are intermediaries between telcos and enterprises, handle the A2P (application-to-person) SMS route, say the third step of gathering user consent will pose a bigger challenge for the entire industry.

“The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has been very active in the past three weeks,” said Aniketh Jain, chief revenue officer of telemarketing firm Kaleyra. “The effort they put in, coordinated with multiple stakeholders has made this a small success in implementation.”

“But our biggest challenge will be consent management, which is phase 3… I wish Trai includes all of us in the discussion to ensure we don’t have failure like 8th March,” he added.

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