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TRAI’s KYC-based Caller ID Service is Not a Threat to Truecaller, Said CEO

Alan Mamedi, CEO and Founder of Truecaller, said that the implementation of TRAI’s KYC-based caller identification is not a competitor as the technology and data offered by Truecaller solve more issues than a basic number ID service. Moreover, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India would need years to implement this new system.

Truecaller, one of the most popular caller identification mobile apps worldwide, said it offers a complete range of services to more than 310 million monthly active users. It makes TRAI’s KYC-based caller ID feature a non-threat for the company. “In fact, I see TRAI’s feature being a catalyst for Truecaller’s growth,” said Mamedi.

“We welcome any actions in the mission to make communication efficient and safe. Number identification is crucial to ending the threat of scams and spam calls. We at Truecaller have been working towards this mission for the past 13 years. And we appreciate this move by TRAI. We remain very supportive of this and any future initiatives,” said Truecaller on its part while welcoming TRAI’s proposed move.

Truecaller Holds a Strong Position in India

In a press statement, Mamedi stated that TRAI’s recent move on the caller ID mechanism is a catalyst for the app’s growth in India. For Truecaller, India is a prominent market worldwide for monthly active users. As of November 2021, it had more than 220 million active users in India, up from 178+ million in September.

TRAI aims to leverage the KYC, Know Your Customer details available to the telecom operators to display callers’ names. The regulatory body would also release a consultation paper for the same soon.

Mamedi believes that TRAI would need years to implement the new caller ID mechanism, and by that time, Truecaller would become even bigger.

The statement reflected Mamedi’s confidence in Truecaller. After all, TRAI is launching one of the features that Truecaller offers. And users who access a full range of services Truecaller offers would continue using the app.

How Will TRAI’s Move Help Mobile Users?

As per a top official, TRAI, the Indian telecom regulator, will soon start consultation to frame a mechanism for its new caller ID policy based on KYC. TRAI has already received a reference to start consultation from the DOT, Department of Telecom.

“We have received a reference, and we will start working on it soon. Name as per KYC will appear when someone calls,” said PD Vaghela, Chairman of TRAI. He added that TRAI has already been thinking on similar lines, but now with specific reference from the telecom department, the consultation will start in the next couple of months.

Flashing the caller ID based on KYC details would help protect users from spam and phishing calls. There have been multiple cases where callers claim to be from insurances, banks, and other prominent businesses to make mobile users share their sensitive financial or other information for fraud and theft.

“The mechanism will allow name appearing on the screen of a smartphone as per KYC done by telecom companies in line with DoT norms,” added Vaghela.

Sources also suggest that once the KYC-based mechanism framework is worked out, the identity establishment will become more clear and tenable legally. Also, it would have a ripple effect, leading to a clean-up of data on crowdsourcing apps because of the KYC links.

However, whether the process is voluntary or not is uncertain. Reports suggest that it is too early to discuss such modalities since many aspects of the framework will come up for discussion during the consultation phase.