Commercial SMS traffic sees double-digit grown under new system


Ever since the implementation of a blockchain-led solution to weed out spam and fraudulent messages, commercial SMS traffic has witnessed double-digit growth. As per industry figures, commercial SMS traffic has grown to over 40 billion per month and the blockchain system is running smoothly.

This is an accomplishment when compared to the outage faced by customers on March 8, 2021, when the new system was enforced by telecom operators on the directions of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai). That day had seen around 400 million SMSes not being delivered, including OTPs from banks.

The new system is aimed at curbing unsolicited and fraudulent messages. It provides for registration of senders, telemarketers, headers, content templates, consent templates and registration of fine-grained subscriber preference. So far, 2.9 lakh enterprises and telemarketing companies have joined the system, registered over 7.7 lakh SMS headers, 94.2 lakh content templates and 50,000 consent templates.

The banking sector is the largest contributor to the SMS traffic, sending nearly 40% of the messages. Other categories include government and public utilities, media and entertainment, stocks/ commodities/ derivatives, travel and tourism, and education.

The blockchain system or distributed ledger technology (DLT) requires enterprises and telemarketers to come onboard through a telco following a KYC process. They must then obtain a header and register templates and can send messages only in conformance with these. That leaves little room for pushing unwanted or undesirable messages to subscribers.

The DLT maintains relevant records, including preferences of subscribers and specific consent they may give to a business. The information is encrypted and available only to the telcos for the limited purpose of verifying that an intended message is in conformance with the subscriber’s wishes. An automated process scrubs the messages submitted for transmission to remove those that do not comply with the regulations or the wishes of the intended subscriber.

“Trai has done a commendable job by designing a framework which leverages the blockchain technology to fight spam and fraud. I see immense potential in India’s CPaaS sector, with continued reliance on SMS channel as the carrier of critical communication for both government and private sector,” Uday Reddy, CMD, Tanla Platforms told FE. Tanla handles the commercial traffic of Vodafone Idea, BSNL, MTNL and partial traffic of Bharti Airtel. IBM is another partner of Bharti, while Reliance Jio handles its commercial SMS traffic in-house.

Tanla’s solution is used by the government too. The Aarogya Setu and CoWin platform use the Tanla solution for sending SMSes. These include OTP messages, Covid-related advisories, vaccine registration messages, confirmatory messages during vaccine delivery, and messages for downloading the certificate.