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TRAI Issues New Guidelines To Curb Spam SMS; Sets Free SMS Cap Of 100 Per Day


Following up on its promise of curbing unsolicited SMS and calls, which continue to be a major problem even after the imposition of the SMS Spam Guidelines, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued a new directive, asking all telecom providers to take additional measures for controlling SMS spam.

The TRAI has asked telcos to:

- Put a price restraint on sending more than one hundred SMS per day per SIM at a concessional rate. This essentially means that a subscriber is free to send SMSs beyond 100 in a day, however, all SMSs sent beyond one hundred SMS per day per SIM, shall be charged at a rate not lower than fifty paise. The TRAI has given 15 days to telcos for implementing it.

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- To restrict unregistered telemarketers from sending bulk promotional SMSs using software applications, Access Providers have been mandated to put in place, within three months, a solution, which will ensure that no commercial SMSs are sent containing same or similar characters or strings or variants from any source or number. The solution will ensure that not more than 200 SMSs with such similar ‘signature’ are sent in an hour. However, registered telemarketers, transactional message sending entities and telephone numbers exempted by the Authority are excluded from this provision. Normal consumers sending non-commercial SMSs will also not be affected by this measure.

- The lodging of a complaint against an unregistered telemarketer call has also been made easier. Now the complaint can be registered through SMS by simply forwarding the spam SMS to 1909 after appending the telephone number and date of receipt of the SMS. Mobile operators will also need to set-up a web-based complaint registering system and a dedicated e-mail address to receive such complaints on spam messages and calls, as per the TRAI order.

- For increasing consumer awareness and to caution against misuse, telcos have been mandated to send SMS to all customers on periodic basis, advising them not to send any commercial communications and informing them about the consequences of misuse.

- The TRAI has also asked telcos to take an undertaking from new customers in the Customer Acquisition Form that they shall not use the connection for telemarketing purpose and in case of using the connection for telemarketing purposes, the connection shall be liable to be disconnected.

The new directive comes after the TRAI’s draft guidelines for mobile spam SMS and calls, in which the regulatory body had proposed customer undertakings and SMS warnings, in addition to fines. We feel that in addition to senders, businesses who’re using SMS as a medium for spamming users, and telcos whose numbers are being used should also be penalised. We do agree that the number of Spam SMS continues to increase, and feel that the imposition of a limit on the number of free SMS, might control it, but some customers who’re heavy SMS users, will feel the pinch. Smartphone users will not be affected much, and apps like WhatsApp will continue to thrive.

Regulating SMS Spam timeline

In September 2011, TRAI had directed all access providers to limit sending of more than one hundred SMS per day per SIM or three thousand SMS per month per SIM and ensure that any commercial communication including SMS, other than transactional messages, is sent to a customer only between 0900 Hrs to 2100 Hrs. TRAI had also relaxed 100 SMS per day restriction for e-tickets, social networks, directories, DTH & More.

In November 2011, TRAI had extended the daily SMS limit from the existing 100 SMS to 200 SMS and had imposed an additional 5 paise charge on Promotional SMS.

In July 2012, the Delhi High Court removed the 200 SMS/day limit through a mobile phone SIM for personal communications, stating that the current SMS spam guidelines infringe the freedom of speech of the citizens, and the conditions imposed upon citizens are not reasonable.

Related:

Do TRAI’s Amended SMS Spam Regulations Exempt Free Content Subscriptions From DND?
Updated: TRAI Blacklists OnMobile & Four Others For Violating Telemarketing Rules
Telemarketers Sending Promotional Messages On Transactional Pipe
TRAI Disconnects 22,769 Spammers; 161.66M Subscribers Registered With NCPR 
TRAI Issues Directives To Tackle SMS Spam From International Numbers 
TRAI Exempts JaxtrSMS, Latlong & Hike From 200 SMS/Day Limit
Delhi High Court’s Removes The 200 SMS Per Day Limit In India

 

  • http://twitter.com/Jains99 Sachin Jain

    Finally some action. let’s hope it will resolve the issue.

  • http://vadakkus.com vadakkus

    Good! These make sense. Kudos to TRAI for coming up with solutions to combat the Spam menace without inconveniencing normal customers.

  • Ramakanth v

    thank god

  • http://www.facebook.com/rekha.sharma.9693001 Rekha Sharma

    Very Shameful For Airtel

  • vijay jain

    Thank you TRAI for giving us the real gift on this diwali. 

  • ponnambalam j

    This could be really bad for those who really communicate more through SMS. Considering the current price hike trend in everything, the Customers now have to shell out more money every month because of this new rule. Charging the customers above 200 SMS will be beneficial, without affecting the monthly budget of an individual. A next hit in the pockets of Consumer.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Dwells/1729456782 Michael Dwells

    I doubt if this would solve the problem with spam messages. But at least this is a good start. Hope the time comes when I wouldn’t have to report unsolicited messages to Callercenter anymore.

  • Adarsh Kumar

    this is just mere waste….just another hit on consumers pocket..by TRAI…!!!   policies must be revised…& TRAI should understand the difference between common sms users  & spammers….!!  :~((