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Apple, India Regulator May Be Moving Toward Solution

August 20, 2018

Apple (News - Alert) and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India have been at odds in recent months. But recent reports indicate they may be moving toward a solution.

“A while ago, TRAI launched a spam reporting app,” the India Times reported in July. “‘Do Not Disturb’ as it was called, would allow customers to report spam calls and text messages, and also mandated carriers to allow for it. However, Apple has been reluctant to allow the app in the App Store.”

The smartphone pioneer didn’t grant that app entry into the App Store because it goes against Apple’s third-party app rules. An Appleinsider report last month explained that “under App Store rules third-party apps are not allowed to see call logs or text messages, but are able to access saved contacts. Any India government mandated Do Not Disturb app would probably require the messages and logs for reporting purposes….”

That same report indicates that Apple has told TRAI that iOS 12 will deliver a Do Not Disturb app on the country’s iPhones, allowing developers to create spam and nuisance call reporting tools. And MacRumors last month noted that “In iOS 12, Apple has given users the tools to cut down on disturbances to get more time away from their devices if desired, and one of these new tools is an expanded set of Do Not Disturb options.” (It allows users to set Do Not Disturb for an hour, for a few hours, until an event ends, until you leave your current location, until you tap it to turn it off.) But that’s different from supporting the TRAI Do Not Disturb app.

Meanwhile, another media outlet last month reported that Apple is working with TRAI to develop a version of its anti-span app that is more to the vendor’s liking.

Despite Apple’s resistance on this issue to date, coming to an agreement with TRAI on this issue is important to the smartphone supplier. If they can’t come to terms on it, TRAI could ban iPhones from networks in India.

And, of course, India is a giant market in which Apple has a keen interest. The fact that Chinese smartphone supplier Huawei is growing its marketshare in China makes Apple’s position in India – the world’s other most populous country –even more important. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle