Introduce service for caller name display on phones: TRAI

Name identity information provided by telephone subscriber in CAF should be used for the purpose of the service, recommended TRAI

New Delhi: 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 — a move that is expected to curb spam.

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.

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.

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“Calling Name Presentation (CNAP) Supplementary Service should be introduced in the Indian telecommunication network,” TRAI said.

Put simply, CNAP is a supplementary service that enables the caller’s name to flash on phone screens when someone calls.

Truecaller, Bharat Caller ID, Anti-Spam

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.

TRAI suggested that all access service providers provide Calling Name Presentation (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.

In the recommendations on service for caller name display on phones, TRAI also outlined a technical model for implementation of CNAP in the Indian telecommunication network.

Consultation paper for caller name display on phones

Giving the larger content for its recommendation, TRAI said the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) in March 2022 had sought its views on introducing the Calling Name Presentation (CNAP) facility.

Accordingly, TRAI issued a consultation paper in November 2022 seeking stakeholders, public, and the industry’s comments on the service.

Nearly 40 stakeholders submitted their comments, and five stakeholders furnished their counter comments, after which an open house discussion was held in March 2023, through virtual mode.

“Based on the comments/inputs received from stakeholders and on its own analysis, TRAI has finalised its recommendations on ‘Introduction of Calling Name Presentation (CNAP) Service in Indian Telecommunication Network’,” it said.

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.

Meanwhile, in a statement on the proposed service for caller name display on phones, 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.

Truecaller further said it extends support to TRAI’s recommendation of service for caller name display on phones.

“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.

“We believe that the current TRAI recommendations can even be a driving catalyst for our continued growth in India, as more people discover our offerings. We stay committed to our mission of making digital communication safe for Indians through our product and partnership with Indian government agencies,” Truecaller said.

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