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25295 Telemarketing Subscribers Blacklisted Disconnected By TRAI

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has blacklisted names and addresses of as many as 25,295 subscribers operating as telemarketers, and disconnected around 300,000 phone connections of telemarketers, Milind Deora, Minister of State for Communications and IT told the Indian Parliament last week, adding that the number of complaints related to telemarketing from unregistered telemarketers has increased in the last year. What is perhaps more interesting is this:

“TRAI has mandated the Access Service Providers to put in place a solution, which will ensure that no commercial SMSs are sent having same or similar characters or strings or variants from any source or number. The solution will ensure that no more than 200 SMSs with such similar ‘signature’ are sent in an hour.”

A couple of things to note here:

– Checking signatures in text messages is an interesting move, and it should help. These are moves to address the issue of SMS spam being sent via modem farms, to prevent them from sending bulk SMS. The spam from unregistered numbers has accounted for a large percentage of the spam that I’ve been getting in the recent past, and it doesn’t appear to be helping.
– Deora hasn’t mentioned the timeframe for these disconnections.
– It’s interesting that the number of complaints has increased in the last year, because it’s contrary to the view that I held that there was consumer apathy when it comes to filing complaints. A mechanism that is dependent only on consumers complaining can’t work in the long run.
– There is no information on what has been done about registered telemarketers, and how many of them have been banned so far. There are also issues of telemarketers registering multiple companies, so if one gets blocked, the other takes over.
– Also no update on companies using the transactional pipe for promotional messaging: we had reported about Jabong, Myntra and Yebhi using the transactional pipe for promotional messaging.

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