Implementation of caller name display should not be mandatory, COAI tells TRAI
Industry body COAI argued that the implementation of Calling Name Presentation (CNAP) should not be made mandatory but should remain optional for telecom operators, as the association shared technical concerns , confidentiality and cost with the regulator TRAI to put forward its point of view.
The submissions came as part of a consultation process launched by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on the need to introduce Calling Name Presentation Supplementary (CNAP) service in telecommunications networks.
Simply put, CNAP is an additional service that allows the caller’s name to flash on phone screens when someone calls.
COAI, whose members include Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, said “CNAP should not be mandatory and should be optional for telecommunications service providers”.
“Implementation of CNAP should be left to TSPs and they can consider implementing the same keeping in mind market dynamics/business case,” said Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI).
In its arguments, COAI pointed out that not all handsets are capable of supporting such features. He also flagged concerns related to privacy and the confidentiality of subscriber information in the country.
Since handset manufacturers and operating system vendors control the data obtained through the CNAP facility, this could result in a breach of subscriber data privacy as mobile device manufacturers and system vendors operations would amass subscriber data for the entire country, COAI warned.
“It would be the biggest concern related to the privacy and confidentiality of subscriber information across the country, which would be akin to building a database of names and cell phone numbers as in the Aadhaar database, along with third parties,” COAI said.
The association wanted to know if there was a study on the advantages of such a system.
He said a detailed cost-benefit analysis should be conducted before the adoption of CNAP “if its implementation of CNAP is to be considered in India.”
The TRAI must carry out a regulatory impact assessment before making a recommendation, the COAI said.
The industry body also drew attention to the technical complexities of implementing the CNAP and went on to say that it is extremely important that the authority shares the draft recommendation with industry to comments and contributions “before finalizing it”.
While subscribers can reap benefits from such a service, its implementation in India also presents several challenges, the industry said.
In its submission to TRAI’s consultation document, Reliance Jio said Calling Name Presentation should not be a mandatory service, given the limited availability of CNAP-enabled devices in India.
“…CNAP facilities are a good thing to have additional VAS service, however, in a country where over 375 million users (over 350 million mobile users without broadband and over 25 million users wired) probably do not own a CNAP-enabled device, in addition to a significant portion of wireless broadband users who may not own CNAP-enabled devices either, it is safe to say that shouldn’t be a mandatory service,” Jio said.
Jio also explained that there will be many technical issues like increased load on signaling and possible impact on latency and interconnect issues, and added “therefore, a cautious approach is recommended.” . “There are privacy issues with the mandatory activation of the CNAP service on every device,” Jio said.
Given customer privacy concerns, installation should not be mandatory and, if implemented voluntarily by telecom operators, it should be based on voluntary consent, Jio said.
Displaying the name at the time of calling can lead to various social and criminal issues.
“Therefore, it is imperative that the customer’s consent is collected before activating the CNAP service on their device,” Jio said.
Jio said it’s safe to assume the mandatory activation of CNAP won’t survive legal scrutiny.
“Furthermore, when a large portion of telecommunications subscribers who are users of 2G-3G feature phones, 4G feature phones, smartphones not enabled with CNAP, smartphones requiring a major update for CNAP, users landlines, etc. will not be able to benefit from this service anyway, so mandatory activation is a moot point and should be avoided,” according to Jio.