India’s Telecom regulator TRAI yesterday issued regulations covering the unsolicited (spam) calls and text messages communications to subscribers. This follows the failure of the Do Not Call Registry – just 340, 231 complaints, a few hundred from me – but isn’t quite the Do Call Registry that was expected. What it does, is provide a framework for registered telemarketers to operate in, and limits alternatives available for unregistered telemarkters, while at the same time, addressing only those subscribers who want to opt out of unsolicited communication. Download the regulations here (PDF), and the press release.
The leeway that telemarketers have is now very limited: just desserts for abusing the system, and in particular, offering a loan to India’s Finance Minister in the middle of an important meeting. There also appear to be a few issues, and a few unintended casualties (especially in the enterprise mobility space), which we’ll explore in another post. For now, some important details we’ve culled out from the regulations:
– Subscribers can now only send p2p SMS’, but not buy SMS packs that allow more than SMS’ a day, and all packs that allow more than 100 SMS’ per day will not be available for renewal. This has been done to discourage unregistered telemarketers from setting up modem farms, bypassing the telemarketer registration framework. If someone sets up a modem farm, then they’ll have to pay P2P SMS rates.
– Single number for registering, deregistering and complaints, across telecom operators, for both wireline and wireless: 1909.
– Two options: you can either choose to register for the fully blocked service, which promises no messages, or opt to receive promotions for specific categories, in the partially blocked mode. Those already on the Do Not Call Registry will be transferred to the Fully Blocked list of the National Customer Preference Register (NCPR)
– The request for addition to the NCPR needs to be completed within 7 days. Earlier, it was 45 days for the NDNC.
– Complaint details required: Need to mention the following details of the message: the originating telephone number, date, time, and a description of the message / call
– Commercial communication via SMS can take place only between 0900 Hrs to 2100 Hrs
– Subscribers can opt for commercial messages from specific segments.
1 – Banking/Insurance/Financial products/credit cards
2 – Real Estate
3 – Education
4 – Health
5 – Consumer goods and automobiles
6 – Communication/Broadcasting/Entertainment/IT
7 – Tourism and Leisure