Apple Believes TRAI Cannot Ask Telecom Operators To Ban iPhones on Their Network

Apple officials believe that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has exceeded its jurisdiction capabilities by ordering network operators in India to shut down support for handsets that do not support installing its Do Not Disturb app.

The regulation passed by the regulatory body comes into effect in six months from now. Android smartphone owners can already download the DND app from Google Play. However, Apple has refused to allow TRAI’s DND app on its App Store citing privacy concerns. This has led to a tiff between TRAI and Apple thereby leading the former to come up with this new regulation.

Sources at Apple believe that the regulation goes above and beyond the powers with TRAI as it cannot tell network operators to bar handsets from their networks.

“…the implementation of the regulation by operators is invalid from the outset, purely from practical enforceability itself,” a person familiar with Apple’s thinking said.

Apple has already informed TRAI about the new Unwanted Communication extension that it is debuting as a part of iOS 12. The extension will allow iPhone users to report spam calls and text messages right from the call log or messages app to TRAI. The extension works without having to provide TRAI’s DND app with access to the entire call log or SMS inbox of the user. And yet, TRAI has gone ahead and announced its new regulation.

A user’s app extension can make this determination by using its own built-in data and logic or by deferring to analysis done by the associated server. “These features will take care of what Trai wants – to check unwanted calls and messages. So, the new rule has come as a surprise,” a company insider said.

Apple has further told Trai that while it supports user consent, it cannot allow any access to call logs and messages, as that would violate its own privacy policy, added this person.

Other handset makers have also criticised the new regulation from TRAI saying it does not have the power to force telecom operators to stop registering certain handsets on their network.

While TRAI’s DND app is available on the Google Play Store, it has less than 1,00,000 downloads with a 2.6 rating.

[Via Economic Times]