Sep 12, 2011

Why TRAI NCPR won't work?

I am registered with National Do Not Call Registry (NDNC) or Do Not Disturb (DND) service since 31st October 2007. But as almost 100% of the subscribers will agree, NDNC is a huge failure. The main reasons for this is the lack of subscriber awareness and the lack of proper penal mechanism. I get almost 8-10 calls and pesky messages per day.

In the first place, most of the subscribers don't know that there is something like NDNC or DND mechanism, in which they can register their mobile number and get some relaxation from unwanted calls and SMS. Then there are some subscribers who are registered with NDNC, but still get promotional calls/SMS but don't know what to do and whom to complaint. Then there is a remaining small class of subscribers, including me, who are registered in DND, still get promotional calls/SMS, raise the formal complaints with the service provider, but don't get any relief due to the lack of proper penal mechanism and the quantum of fine.

Under the existing system of NDNC, the procedure is that once your are registered in NDNC and still get promotional calls/SMS even after 45 days of registration, you need to contact your service provider (terminating service provider) and raise a formal complaint. Your service provider in turn will contact the service provider of the caller or sender (original service provider) of the promotional content. There is a fine of Rs.500 only for the first offence. 

This system of NDNC is now getting replaced from September 27th with a new system named as "National Customer Preference Registry" (NCPR). The website is This deadline has already been extended 4 times earlier, due to the lack of uniform number series to be provided to the registered telemarketers. Hopefully it will see the light of day this time.

First you need to check your current status from If you had already registered under erstwhile NDNC, then you will automatically be in the new NCPR under "fully blocked" category. 

If you are not registered, you need to call on 1909 from your cell to register for NCPR/NDNC/DND. While registering you can completely block the promotions or choose to receive messages from the following 7 categories:

1 Banking/Insurance/Financial products/Credit cards
2 Real Estate
3 Education
4 Health
5 Consumer Goods and Automobiles
6 Communication/Broadcasting/Entertainment/IT
7 Tourism and Leisure.

TRAI’s new policy promises that even unregistered customers won’t receive any commercial communication between 9 pm and 9 am.

TRAI has announced that those telemarketers who do not follow these rules would face a fine of Rs. 25,000 for the first offence. The fine goes up to Rs. 2.5 lakh for the sixth offence and if they continue defying it, they would be blacklisted for two years. But that is applicable to the registered telemarketers. So why would anybody register?

In the present system, NDNC is bypassed since most of the telemarketers did not register themselves. Promotional messages are sent from one mobile number and different contact number is provided in the SMS, so that even if the sending number is blocked on complaint, the original number remains intact. 

In the new system as well, the penal mechanism though more pinching, it won't be initiated unless the subscriber is registered and starts raising complaints. 

The new penal mechanism is as under:

1) First of all, register yourself in NCPR, if not already registered in NDNC.

2) If you are getting promotional calls/SMS even after 7 days of registration, raise the formal complaint with your service provider within 3 days of receipt of unsolicited commercial communication.

3) On receipt of a complaint, the Terminating Access Provider shall,
(a) immediately acknowledge the complaint by providing a unique complaint number; 
(b) verify whether, at the time of complaint, a period of seven days has expired from the date of registration of the subscriber in the Provider Customer Preference Register; 
(c) verify the correctness of the complaint as per the available Call Detail Record (CDR); and 
(d) complete the steps at (b) and (c) within seventy two hours from receipt of the complaint.

4) If, on verification, the complaint is found to be correct, the Terminating Access Provider shall, within seventy two hours of the receipt of the complaint, forward the complaint, under simultaneous transmission to the National Telemarketer Register, to the Originating Access Provider from whose network such unsolicited commercial communication has originated.

5) The Originating Access Provider, to whom the complaint has been forwarded, shall within seventy two hours of the receipt of the complaint by it, investigate the nature of call or SMS and if after such investigation, it finds that such call or SMS is an unsolicited commercial communication- 
(a) issue a notice to the telemarketer, forwarding the detail of the unsolicited
commercial communication made by him and informing him of the deduction from the security deposit of an amount as agreed upon in terms of Schedule IV or Schedule V to these regulations; 
(b) intimate, the result of the investigation and the action taken by it on the basis of the complaint, to the Terminating Access Provider which forwarded the complaint; 
(c) deposit the amount so deducted in an account specified by the Authority; and 
(d) update the action taken by it in the National Telemarketer register. 

6) The Terminating Access Provider shall, upon receipt of the intimation from the Originating Access Provider, intimate to the complainant, within twenty four hours, the result of the investigation and the action taken by the originating Access Provider on his complaint.

7) In case the Originating Access Provider to whom a complaint has been forwarded finds that the unsolicited commercial communication originated from a subscriber who is not registered with the Authority as a telemarketer, it shall issue a notice to such subscriber to forthwith discontinue the sending of such unsolicited commercial communications and if such subscriber sends a commercial communication to any subscriber on a second occasion, disconnect the telecom resources of such subscriber.

Now I seriously don't think that the new NCPR is going to work as well. That is because of the point number 7 above which is clause 19(11) of The Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations, 2010 available on

As I said before, people bypass present NDNC just by sending SMS from a different mobile number and provide a different contact number in the SMS. So in the new regime of NCPR as well, even if the complaint is registered, the original access provider will issue a notice. Even after the notice, if the communication is not stopped, it will only discontinue the telecom resources, i.e. the original mobile number from which the SMS is sent. It is a very small price to pay for sending the messages to a huge database of mobile numbers.

There are a couple of more flaws in this system. You need to open up the category even if you want to receive SMS from one specified service provider. For ex. if you want to receive SMS alerts for banking transactions from your own bank like ICICI Bank, you must expressly open up the category "Banking/Insurance/Financial products/Credit cards". So if you open up that category, you will receive messages from ICICI Bank and at the same time, you will start to receive other promotional messages in that category like "Avail Personal Loan in 15 minutes. Minimum Documentation. Contact....." and many more like that. And what's more, you won't be able to complain for that since you yourself have opened up the category.

Unless you open up categories, you won't be able to receive some important SMS alerts like those for high value bank and debit/credit card transactions,  reminders for bill payment, booking confirmation with driver's contact number for Radio Cabs, getting required contact details on SMS from Justdial, SMS confirmations for railway and airline bookings, push messages on facebook, twitter etc. So with all these restrictions, most subscribers would be compelled to opt out of NCPR, giving complete freedom to telemarketers to target them.  

Another problem is that in promotional messages, now we receive the name of the sender in the form of sender ID and operator code prefixed to it. In the new system, we will receive only the mobile number of the sender. So the user won't be able to identify the legitimate message and spam message, unless he/she goes through the entire content of the message. 

To force the registration, TRAI is imposing the ceiling of 100 messages per day per sim card, for every unregistered number in the form of P2P communication. This is based on the assumption that any telemarketer needs to send more than 100 messages per day, and that would force them to register. So anybody can start sending up to 100 messages per day, with the only threat that on complaint, the number may be blocked. 

This restriction is on the number of messages per day. What about calls by an unregistered telemarketers? 

So all in all, I am very sceptical about the new regulations as well. In all probabilities, my cell phone will continue to ring for the calls and messages, that I don't want.


  1. Excellent and informative article. Keep posting mate...

  2. Good Post..
    This rule is not good..
    I will send 300 to 400 messages per day, but someday around 20 to 30 messages..
    ME and MY Girl friend has only this mode of communication..
    Hands Down TRAI :-(

  3. Most of the people would be compelled to opt out of NCPR, as you have rightly said. I need the cab booking confirmation on SMS for sure. What do I do then? I will have to expressly open the category, and I would be getting messages in that category. Its of no use. And provisions for non-registered marketers are still not that stringent. How is TRAI going to monitor voice calls by non-registered marketer?

  4. wat r we youth to do wid dis??... it doesnt matter us at al.. we jus need a mode of communication so can contact wid frnz... by postin dis jus wont help... bt need 2 complain dis 2 d TRAI.. as 2 dose who want dis services only shud nt receive it... we send upto 200 messages message packs r down... we r in loss... d service provider costs us deir al tym sms scheme money... n provides only 100 a day??? guys we need 2 complain it n take action against d TRAI

  5. Well written. Though the sms and calls have reduced considerably if you register with nccp. Most law abiding websites and telemarkers ask permission before sending sms. But then there are some who have used the point no . 7 loophole. where they call from changing mobile numbers and isp says we can only block registered telemarkers and cannot do anything if you have received from personal numbers. 


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