HDFC Bank, SBI, others not adhering to norms on bulk SMSes, says TRAI; sets March 31 deadline for full compliance

The Pandemic situation in the country has forced the country into liquidating situations where there has been intense pressure to discharge basic financial functions. However, banking institutions have been reluctant in paying their requisite fees on spectrum payment and SMSes. Thereby Telecom Regulatory Authority of the country (TRAI) has decided to take strict steps on freezing the banking functions of banks like HDFC and SBI.

The telecom regulator on Friday released a list of 40 “defaulter” principal entities, including large banks like HDFC Bank, SBI and ICICI Bank, that are not following the guidelines, rules, regulations and norms stated on the majority of commercial messages despite continuous reminders.
Hardening its stance on the issue, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) warned that defaulting entities should comply with the stipulated requirements by March 31, 2021 “to avoid any disruption in the communication with customers” from April 1, 2021.

The Telecom Authorities of India have noticeably said that sufficient time-frame and opportunities have been provided to the banking institutions for clearing off the debts. Consumers can no longer be deprived of the added advantages associated with the functioning of the regulatory framework of the telecom networking environment. Therefore April 1 has been set as the deadline for the payment of the charges involved in presenting the basic functionality related to SMSes. TRAI’s norms for commercial messages, based on blockchain technology, aim to curb unsolicited and fraudulent messages.

The regulations stated require bonafide entities sending commercial text messages to register message header and templates with telecom operators. The SMSes and OTPs, when sent by user entities (banks, payment companies and others), are checked against the templates registered on the blockchain platform — a process called SMS scrubbing. Major Banking Entities like Axis Bank, State Bank of India, HDFC Bank, and Punjab National Bank have not been inclined to work on permanent parameters like functional templates. Identification modules templates like PE, IDs, etc. At times the templates are invisible even in cases where registration of the template has completed and the information is supposed to be transmitted with the basic timeframe.

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