India's telecomm regulatory agency could ban the Apple iPhone from India's wireless networks
In an effort to reduce the number of spam calls that smartphone users in India must put up with, the TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Agency of India) has made some changes. One of the new regulations requires the installation of an anti-spam app called DND (now at version 2.0) on all smartphones in the country. But Apple will not allow the TRAI developed app to be included in the App Store, citing privacy fears. The app obtains phone and messaging logs belonging to a smartphone user, which explains Apple's reluctance to list it.
Since the regulatory agency has no jurisdiction over the handset manufacturers, the regulations were written for the country's carriers, who are obligated to follow TRAI directives. As written, the regulation gives the wireless providers in India six months to make sure that all smartphones registered on its network have the ability to install the DND 2.0 app. If Apple doesn't allow the latter to be listed on the App Store, the agency could direct the country's carriers to block all iPhone handsets from access to their networks.
Apple is giving developers the ability in iOS 12 to add an Unwanted Communication app extension that will allow users to report spam calls and texts through a third party app. Perhaps if Apple can convince the TRAI that this would be as useful as its own DND 2.0 to fight spam, iPhone users in the country could breathe a sigh of relief. But if the TRAI plays hardball, what will Apple do? Even with the current problems that face Apple in India, CEO Tim Cook has high hopes for the future of Apple in the country.
Apple has given in to demands from China regarding the App Store. Last year, under pressure from the Chinese government, Apple removed VPN apps from the Chinese App Store. This year, China's government told Apple to remove apps from the App Store that had CallKit (Apple's dialer interface for third party apps) active. Apple did comply with the demand. Since Cook expects big things from the Indian market, and is even manufacturing a couple of handsets in the country, the executive might decide to appease the powers that be and add some version of DND 2.0 to the App Store in India.