DoT begins separate numbering series 160xxxx for service and transactional voice calls

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With an aim to enable consumers to distinguish between spam calls originating from 10-digit unknown numbers and genuine service/transactional calls from genuine Principle Entities, a new 160xxxxxxx number series has been introduced to help in curbing unsolicited voice calls from telemarketers using 10 digit mobile numbers.
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has introduced a new numbering series, 160xxxxxxx for making service/transactional calls. This initiative is a step towards providing citizens with a way to easily identify such legitimate calls.

140xxxxxxx used for promotional/service/transactional voice calls

Currently 140xxxxxxx series has been allocated to telemarketers for making promotional/service/transactional voice calls. As 140xxxxx series is being used extensively for promotional calls, consumers normally do not respond to such calls and many important service/transactional calls are missed. This has resulted in wide use of regular 10-digit numbers by genuine entities for making service/transactional calls. This also gave opportunity to fraudsters to deceive consumers using 10-digit numbers.

To fulfil this need, the DoT has allocated a new numbering series, i.e., 160xxxxxxx which will exclusively be used for service/transactional voice calls by the Principle Entities. This clear differentiation between service/transactional calls versus other types of calls will make it easier for citizens to manage their communication. Now, for example, the service/transactional calls originating from Financial Entities like by RBI, SEBI, PFRDA, IRDA, etc shall start from 1601.

TSP to verify before assigning a number from 160xxxx series

Telecom Service Providers (TSP) shall be ensuring adequate verification of every entity before assigning a number from 160 series and the entity shall undertake to use it only for service/transactional calls as per Telecom Commercial Communication Customer Preference Regulation (TCCCPR), 2018.

Consumers can have more confidence in the legitimacy of calls from the 160xxxxxxx series, reducing the risk of falling victim to scams. For any suspected fraud communications, citizen can report it on Chakshu facility at Sanchar Saathi (www.sancharsaathi.gov.in).

The DoT encourages consumers to activate the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) Do Not Disturb (DND) feature to block unwanted promotional calls, further enhancing their protection against spam.

What is a Service Call?

Service Call means a voice call made to recipient either with his consent or using a template registered for the purpose, the primary purpose of which is to facilitate, complete, or confirm a commercial transaction that the recipient has previously consented to enter into with the sender; or to provide warranty information, product recall information, safety or security information with respect to a commercial product or service used or purchased by the recipient;

What is a Transactional Call?

Transactional Call is a voice call which is not promotional in nature and is for the purpose of alerts to its own customers or account holders and information to be communicated by the voice call is time critical in the nature

What is a Promotional Call?

Promotional Call means commercial communication voice call for which the sender has not taken any explicit consent from the recipient to make such voice calls to him.

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