Telecom operators including Aircel, Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices, have been asked by the Telecom Regulatory Authority Of India (TRAI) to submit a weekly report on disconnected numbers to be put up on a website as a measure to stop illegal telemarketing companies from getting a phone connection, reports The Hindu Business Line. It is not clear why only these three operators have been asked to submit a weekly report.
Speaking to the publication, TRAI said that from June 30, 2013, they plan to blacklist these telemarketing companies so that they don’t get any mobile connections for the next two years.
This new mandate follows TRAI decision to hike the SMS termination charges in May 2013 to 2 paise per SMS for normal SMS and 5 paise per SMS on each transactional SMS on operators from whom the SMS originates, to curb the pesky SMS spam, which continue to be a major problem even after the imposition of the SMS Spam Guidelines.
Telecom service providers (TSP) had then noted that smaller operators are selling bulk SMS to telemarketers at cheap rates and that the revenues earned by them are primarily based on the large number of transactional and promotional SMS to subscribers of other networks without having to pay to terminating TSPs. Following the new regulations, operators will be able to earn from smaller operators for normal, promotional and transactional SMS providing a balance.
TRAI had earlier informed that customers can complain against these marketers by sending an SMS stating – “the unsolicited commercial communication, marketer’s mobile number dd/mm/yy” to 1909.
In April 2013, we had reported that the total number of Unsolicited Commercial Communications (UCC) complaints filed by consumers with their respective telcos stood at 5,27,457 complaints for the period September 27, 2011- April 15, 2013, registering an average 27,760 complaints per month.
Timeline: Regulation of Spam SMSes
In May 2013, TRAI hikes SMS termination charges to 2 paise per SMS for normal SMS and 5 paise per SMS on each transactional SMS on operators from whom the SMS originates (excluding government SMSes) to curb pesky SMS spam. New charges to be applicable from June 1, 2013.
In December 2012, the Indian Supreme Court had put a stay on Telecom tribunal, Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) order which had quashed the TRAI’s directive of limiting the number of SMS to 200 per day, per SIM
In November 2012, TRAI had issued a new directive, asking all telecom providers to take additional measures for controlling SMS spam. It had also set free SMS cap to 100 SMS per day, after which each SMS would cost more than 50 paise per 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.
In September 2011, TRAI had directed all access providers to limit sending of more than 100 SMS per day per SIM or 3000 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.