TRAI Current Affairs

Wings: BSNL launches India’s first internet telephony service

State-run telecom firm BSNL through its mobile app ‘Wings’ launched India’s first internet telephony service. Through this app, BSNL customers will be able to make calls to any phone number, domestic or international. Before this service, phone calls on mobile apps were possible within users of particular app (such as Whatsapp, Duo etc) and not on telephone numbers.

Key Facts

The Wings service will allow calls from mobile phone to any number, domestic or international using internet. It requires mobile data of any operator or wifi services. It will allow customers to make video or audio calls by paying fee and also send SMSs. This service will use mobile numbering scheme, provided using IP based access network of IMS NGN Core switches to allow users to make and receive calls over the Internet via their landline or mobile phone.

Background

This comes after Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had refreshed VoIP guidelines in October 2017 and that was approved by Telecom Commission in May 2018. It allowed full-fledged internet telephony by telecom operators which will enable calls from app to app of licensed service providers as well as on phone numbers. It only allows authorised licensed holders to provide full-fledged internet telephony and not over-the-top players like Google Duo, WhatsApp that allow only app-to-app calling. In effect, telcos have been allowed to piggyback on each other’s data networks in case of voice calls over WiFi and these calls can terminate on mobile or landline networks.

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TRAI proposes use of blockchain technology to curb spam calls, texts

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in its draft Telecom Commercial Communication Customer Preference Regulation, 2018 has proposed use of blockchain technology to check menace of Unsolicited Commercial Communication (UCC) or spam calls and messages. This will be for first time, any country will deploy blockchain technology to check unwanted calls.

Key Facts

The blockchain technology based norms to check menace of UCC will record all communication between subscribers and entities, capturing customer consent for information and authorised telemarketing agencies. It will ensure two things, non- repudiative and confidentiality.

It will be safeguarding personal information of the consumers as well as for better check on unsolicited commercial calls. Only those authorised to access details will be able to access subscriber details and only when they need to deliver service.

The draft proposes to check misuse of repeated UCC being made even to those subscribers who have given consent. The subscriber will be now able to revoke consent given to entities through TRAI app and other mechanism that will be provided under regulation.

Benefits

Using blockchain technology, all information can be recorded and more options can be given to customers regarding commercial communications. The telemarketers will not have access to database of telecom customers and they can only reach out to those, who have opted to receive communication. Moreover, any spammer who uses normal 10-digit number to communicate with people can be tracked immediately after few people report to TRAI as data can be matched.

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