Indian Railways clashed with telecom operators over a 2012 rule that capped the number of free SMSes customers can send to 100 per day. A delegation of multiple railways officials presented their case to remove this limit at a TRAI open house discussion held online on May 6, the first of its kind. TRAI held the discussion for the Draft Telecommunication Tariff (Sixty-Fifth Amendment) Order, 2020, which would delete a 2012 tariff order that placed this restriction. In late 2018, the Railways had switched from Airtel to Jio as the employees' official wireless service provider. Airtel, their previous operator, had exempted mass SMS messages, the preferred mode for Indian Railways for internal communications, from the 100 SMS limit. This let employees send SMSes to each other without a limit. But Jio did not do this after it took over, reasoning that TRAI's 100 SMS limit left them with no choice but to charge ₹0.50 for every SMS after the first hundred. This, railway employees complained, has led to a situation where they are paying Rs 2 crore a year for SMSes. TRAI: Telcos can still charge for SMS for retail users Telcos uniformly pushed back against lifting the limit, arguing (as in filings: COAI, Jio, Airtel, Vodafone–Idea, BSNL) that it would lead to an explosion in SMS messages from unregistered telemarketers, who would be able to simply pick up a retail connection and send several messages before being caught. TRAI chairperson R.S. Sharma seemed less than convinced with this argument. "Is…
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