TRAI Chairman Gives Apple a Belligerent Reply When Asked Not to Ban iPhones Over DND App


Apple’s tussle with the TRAI — the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India — over the latter’s anti-spam app does not seem to end. Apple has not allowed TRAI’s DND app on the iOS App Store since it violates its privacy policy and puts the user’s privacy at risk.

This had led TRAI to issue a draft regulation where it can direct telecom operators to derecognize smartphones from their network which do not allow for the installation of its DND app within the next six months. Apple and TRAI have been at loggerheads over the DND app for almost two years now.

Apple did try to provide a solution to this issue with a new extension in iOS 12 that will allow users to easily report spam calls and messages to a third-party service they like. However, this change does not seem to be enough for TRAI as it still wants Apple to allow for installation of its DND app on iPhones. While Apple has been trying to work with the Indian regulatory body, TRAI has not been willing to co-operate with the Cupertino company. Apple sent out a letter to TRAI after looking at the draft of the proposed notification.

“We look forward to working with TRAI to address the issue of unsolicited commercial communications, while simultaneously ensuring that we fully honor our commitment to protect the privacy and security of our users,” Apple’s head of public policy in India, Kulin Sanghvi, wrote in the letter which was seen by Reuters.

To this, TRAI Chairman R.S. Sharma replied that Apple could not challenge the notification through a letter and it should challenge it in court.

Apple has been trying to expand its presence in the Indian smartphone market but the strict and sometimes unreasonable demands from the Indian government is making things difficult for the company. Apple asked the Indian government for tax breaks to set up an iPhone production unit in the country but its request was rejected. Due to this, the company has to pay a high import tariff on its latest iPhones which ends up increasing their final price by almost 30-40 percent.

Apple, which currently assembles only two low-end iPhones in India, has said tariff-free imports are critical for smartphone component suppliers and essential to make local manufacturing practical.

It remains to be seen how the tiff between Apple and TRAI will come to an end over the latter’s DND app. TRAI’s move has not garnered a positive response from the Cellular Association of India as well, though unless someone drags this matter to the court, its unlikely to be resolved.

[Via Reuters]