Mobile operators will be forced to shut down Apple iPhones on their networks if the American giant fails to install a pesky call app on its phones within the next six months.
The company has steadfastly refused to install any such app so far, despite telecom regulator Trai’s displeasure over its refusal.
Things may change now with Trai on Thursday coming out with a new regulation that asks companies to provide an app which allows subscribers to report pesky calls and messages. However, parties concerned must be given a “reasonable opportunity of representing against the contravention of regulations.”
Apple’s in-house app offer needs approval of Trai
Trai’s order on a mandatory pesky call app needs to be adhered to within six months, failing which there could be serious repercussions.
“Every access provider shall ensure, within six months’ time, that all smart-phone devices registered on its network support the permissions required for functioning of such apps,” a clause tucked away in Trai’s voluminous 113-page ‘Telecom Commercial Communication Customer Preference Regulation’ says.
It further adds, “Provided that where such devices do not permit functioning of such apps as prescribed in regulations… access providers (mobile operators) shall, on the order or direction of the (telecom) authority, de-recognize such devices from their telecom networks.” Issue of pesky call app has been a thorny one with Apple not agreeing to install it despite Google’s Android agreeing to carry Trai’s do-not-disturb (DND) app on its devices.
Trai chairman R S Sharma accused Apple of engaging in “data colonisation” in August last year.
Things are yet to get sorted even now, though there have been several discussions between Apple and Trai officials.
TOI has learnt that Apple has now filed a fresh proposal with the regulator last month, offering an in-house solution, but this has so far failed to find acceptance within Trai. The phone major is saying that privacy of its customers is of utmost importance, and “cannot be compromised” at any cost.
Trai’s new regulation now says that such an app either needs to be the one provided by Trai “or by any other person or entity and approved by the (telecom) authority.” The move, sources say, will force Apple to either agree to carry the app provided by Trai, or else have an in-house app which needs to find approval of Trai.
The regulator claims that its DND app — launched in June 2016 — has ways to tackle the issue of unwanted calls and messages. While Android phones approve the app, Apple had initially objected to it, saying that it was not in a position to share a customer’s phone records and message details due to strict privacy stipulations.