Last week hundreds of users were facing issues in receiving one-time passwords (OTP) through SMS from banks, e-commerce and other companies due to a massive disruption in SMS services. This happened because most of the corporates in India were not prepared towards “TRAI notified new SMS scrubbing directive”, which Telcos were carrying out through a Blockchain platform termed as DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology).

As a result of which a host of services and transactions were stalled. Net Banking, online ticket bookings, eCommerce sales, and Aadhaar authentication were disturbed as OTPs and SMSes remain undelivered.

As per a National Daily, over 1 billion commercial messages are sent per day, on an average in India, & nearly 40% of the traffic was disturbed (on those days) due to the enforcement of this DLT scrubbing.

According to TRAI, it was estimated that certain prominent entities did not fulfil requirements as laid down by the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations, 2018. It must be noted that the scrubbing directive has been temporarily withdrawn by TRAI, this is a respite for Enterprises & will give them time to prepare themselves better, when the scrubbing goes LIVE next time, which may be in somewhere in the first week on April.

As per the regulations, every SMS content sent by telcos must be verified with a registered text before its delivery. This blockchain-enabled solution rolled out by telecom operators authenticates the sender id, checks the header and content of every commercial SMSes generated from a registered source.

The deployment of the blockchain-based DLT platform was done by the telcos as a mandate from TRAI with the objective of throttling spam & fraudulent messages. However, enterprises were unable to comprehend the urgency and were not completely prepared when Telcos went LIVE with the DLT scrubbing on March 8th, in India. Such enterprises were unable to deliver messages (OTP / alerts) to user handsets, as the DLT platform expected them to pass certain critical parameters in a predefined manner.

SMSes originating from unregistered sender ids are blocked. As a matter of fact, the DLT Platform auto filters SMSes with even a minuscule change such as adding or deleting a full-stop. Despite several reminders by telcos, enterprises failed to register their SMS content by the deadline – March 8, 2020.

Route Mobile Limited (RML) had anticipated these challenges well ahead of time and have prepared most of their clients for the transformation. Route Mobile is marginally impacted which was expected as the messaging space has moved into a completely new regime. Given our expertise & unparalleled global learnings, RML has come out of this challenge stronger.

RML is hopeful that DLT will open up more opportunities as the messaging space shall get highly regulated and disciplined. CPaaS players with the right learnings and experience will excel in the days to come. Route Mobile has displayed its readiness for any new technological changes by being one of the least impacted CPaaS players when DLT went LIVE.

It will be interesting to see how TRAI regulations impact the next-gen messaging format – RCS, which, unlike conventional SMS, is based on IP messaging. RCS business messaging can bring a paradigm shift in the way SMSes are sent, by allowing rich media (videos/gif/ PDF) to be shared along with the text.

  • Author

    Tushar AgnihotriCountry Head India & Regional Head APAC, Route Mobile Limited