India’s TRAI threatens to ‘derecognize’ iPhones from Indian cellular networks if Apple does not preinstall government anti-spam app

“For almost two years, Apple has battled India’s telecom regulator over a demand that it allow the use of the government’s anti-spam app,” Sankalp Phartiyal and Aditya Kalra report for Reuters. “Non-compliance, the watchdog threatened last month, could result in phones being ‘derecognized’ from the country’s networks, meaning they would no longer function.”

“At the heart of its latest tussle with the government is India’s pervasive problem with spam and nuisance calls – one the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is trying to counter with an app that it wants all phone makers to install,” Phartiyal and Kalra report. “The app has been available on the Android store since 2016, but Apple in March told Reuters that TRAI’s app ‘as envisioned violates the privacy policy of the App Store.’ The new version of its iPhone operating system, expected in autumn, will allow many of the app’s functions but not fully automatic spam filtering as that functionality could open the door to Apple users being tracked by third parties, Apple said in a letter to regulators.”

“TRAI, however, last month notified Indian telecom firms it could give them six months notice to ‘derecognize’ devices from their networks if the devices do not support anti-spam apps that are approved by the government,” Phartiyal and Kalra report. “In the letter, dated June 18 and responding to a draft of the proposed notification, Apple asked for the clause about derecognition to be dropped. ‘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.”

“The Indian Cellular Association has also come out in opposition to the regulator’s move,” Phartiyal and Kalra report. “Asked by Reuters to respond to Apple’s request to drop the derecognition threat, TRAI Chairman R.S. Sharma said the notification could not be quashed or challenged by writing a letter. ‘The most appropriate way to challenge this is in court,’ he said.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple should stand their ground on this or the dominoes will start tumbling in countries the world over as government clowns like R.S. Sharma begin mandating privacy-trampling, insecure government-made crapps be preinstalled in order for Apple to be allowed to sell functioning devices.

TRIA bureaucrats clearly do not understand how iOS works or why it’s important for Apple to protect users’ privacy. If users want to share phone numbers and other sources to block, then they can do so on their own. No third-party app should be able to access such data willy-nilly. It’s blatantly insecure – which is why it’s no problem for Google to allow TRAI’s privacy-trampling POS in their Android store and also why Apple will never allow it in the App Store.MacDailyNews, July 20, 2018

India may ban iPhone if Apple keeps fighting TRAI by not allowing DND App in iOS Store – July 20, 2018
Apple accused of ‘anti-consumer’ behavior by Indian regulator – August 8, 2017
Apple’s refusal to approve India’s anti-spam app angers regulators – September 6, 2017
Apple accused of ‘anti-consumer’ behavior by Indian regulator – August 8, 2017


  1. Wow, having a government force software onto private devices, that’s going to be a wild one. I guess Samsung will be owning India for the foreseeable future.

    I wonder if it’s a sign of the future, where governments create their own mobile devices full of government software. Sure would make a funny skit.

  2. Good riddance, Apple has no bushiness being in India, it is a cheap market for Google Android. The sooner Apple gets kicked out the better, Apple dont need to be so greedy, it has enough profits and should spend time fixing its buggy soft ware and neglected hard ware like the mac mini. Tim Cook deserved the kick in the face

    1. Trying to respond but so much dumb bigoted stuff here I just don’t know where to start. 2nd biggest market in the WORLD…I think that pretty much says it all.

      1. Since their app is in use and the “pervasive problem with spam and nuisance calls” still exists, maybe the app needs to go in light of finding the real solution for both entities?

        Agreed Mr. Tulsa…dismissing India as too big of a challenge would be idiotic. Besides, a good company seeks to serve all customers.

  3. Anti-SPAM is nothing less than communication filtering. You give up some basic liberty once you allow a Big Brother to control who gets through the filter. Apple must resist this.

  4. Where are the brainless pro India supporters now who are constantly saying how important the Indian market is!! India is also the world largest democracy (fake democracy) and if the elected government chucks out Apple from doing business then be it. Apple dont need the dirty Indian profits, it should concentrate on countries like Japan and China and get the hell out of India. Also to the people who are claiming large market that in India, how come 1+ billion Indians with the democracy and freedom do not develop their own Operating system to compete with Android and iOS?? Where are these tech savvy Indians from the population of 1 billion +.?? The Indians shoudl make their own OS, run it on their cheap hard ware phones and do chest thump on how capable they are in software.

      1. Google invested a lot of money and will be providing essential services to KaiOS, so that dont count. KaiOS is just as insecure as Android. So that dont count. Indians should have their own OS for their phones

  5. Being derecognized in India would turn out to be a good, forward-looking, business move in the rest of the world because it would clearly reaffirm once again that Apple – compared to Android – is a reliable leader in the issue of personal data privacy which is becoming an increasingly valued commodity for folks and for businesses.

    Apple stood tall against the intrusive FBI in the San Bernardino case, and it should stand tall now against the acquisitive hands of India. I use “acquisitive” because I know that India simply wants to get inside the workings of iPhone to track people under cover of the phony issue of guarding its citizens against spam calls.

    1. that doesn’t mean finding a solution shouldn’t be pursued. If Apple does comply and chooses to compromise the the value that truly separates Apple from all others, put a fork in it…Apple is cooked. At least imo.

      1. Yes, it would lose its key identity. Its dedication and devotion to privacy used to be more of an intrinsic value; Now it’s becoming a real-world value. Apple the trusted company would become like Android, Windows, or like all the rest: mistrusted. And loss of differentiation would be bad for its long-term business.

        Person’s privacy is another instance of Apple knowing where this particular hockey puck would be and skating toward it, technological development by technological development, legal case by legal case.

    1. Apple’s home country needs India to belittle and insult, just like most of the other countries of the world. I mean just how often do you see a citizen of Apple’s home nation pay a compliment to others? It’s a rarity.

      India by the way has the world’s fastest growing telecommunications industry, the second fastest growing automobile industry, and is doing pretty good in the pharmaceutical industry.

      Sure India, like all countries, has some major issues, which those from Apple’s home country can make fun of, like you just did. They also have some wonderful attributes, which the free and civilized world can benefit from.

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