India regulator threatens to ban iPhones from carrier networks over resistance to anti-spam app

Last weekend, a report suggested that Apple had sold fewer than 1 million iPhones in India so far this year. Now, it appears that iPhone sales numbers are just one of the company’s worries in the country…

The India Telecom Regulatory Authority, or TRAI, has introduced a new revision to its policy focused on reducing spam calls and text messages in the country. Part of that policy is a requirement that carriers allow customers to download a ‘Do Not Disturb’ application that would let them report spam calls and messages.

Apple, however, has long refused to allow the application on the App Store over privacy concerns. Essentially, the app would require access to call and message logs, which Apple was not willing to offer.

This week, however, TRAI published new regulations that mandate all customers be allowed to install the Do Not Disturb application on their device, whether they use iPhone or iPad. TRAI explained that companies and carriers have six months to ensure all smartphone devices allow the application, as reported by India Today.

If companies like Apple continue to resist the Indian government’s anti-spam app, TRAI says it will force carriers to remove those devices from their networks. This means that, theoretically, all iPhones would lose access to 3G, 4G, and voice service:

“Every Access Provider shall ensure, within six months’ time, that all smart phone devices registered on its network support the permissions required for the functioning of such Apps as prescribed in the regulations 6(2)(e) and regulations 23(2)(d),” TRAI notes in its regulatory document.

“Provided that where such devices do not permit functioning of such Apps as prescribed in regulations 6(2)(e) and regulations 23(2)(d), Access Providers shall, on the order or direction of the Authority, derecognize such devices from their telecom networks.”

At this point, it’s unclear how Apple will handle this situation. Last year,, it was reported that Apple would help create an anti-spam app in India, but those efforts seem to have stalled over recent months. Interestingly, iOS 12 does include support for reporting unwanted texts and calls as spam, but it’s unclear if TRAI could tap into that technology.

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