The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has warned seven banks including Axis Bank, Citi Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra, PNB, and SBI for continuing to use unregistered telemarketers for promoting their service.

It has asked banks to look into specific cases of breach and report back to the authority within seven days, failing which the banks are liable to have all their telecom resources disconnected throughout the country. TRAI notes that while failing to follow the regulations, Telecom Service Providers (TSP) are mandated to disconnect all the telecom resources of these banks, however, keeping in mind the inconvenience caused to public it has decided to exercise only temporary regulatory tolerance.

Earlier, TRAI had taken measures for addressing the menace of unsolicited commercial communications (UCC). In August 2013, it added a new clause to the regulation stating that telecom Operators will be fined Rs 5000 per complaint if SMS Spam is sent by a subscriber who is not registered as a telemarketer. It had also mandated telecom companies to disconnect all phone connections of banks if the authority receives three complaints of UCC or text messages being sent using an unregistered marketer. However, according to the TRAI report, some banks and financial institutions continued violation of the regulation by marketing their products and services through unregistered telemarketers.

We had earlier reported that e-commerce sites were still sending promotional SMSes using the cheaper transactional pipes rather than promotional pipes, despite TRAI hiking the 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. Clearly, hiking the rates didn’t work, so we wonder if TRAI is now taking serious measures to control this SMS spam.

Besides this, there also appears to be a rise in flash-based promotional SMS, for which it’s currently difficult to report promotional flash SMS as one needs to save the message and then report, else the message self destructs after one view.


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