We missed this earlier: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on June 3 passed the Telecom Tariff (65th Amendment) Order, 2020, removing a regulation that required telcos to charge customers for sending more than 100 SMS messages per day. Telecom operators had opposed this change, arguing that low SMS pricing could result in an increase in spam messages from unregistered telemarketers. The Railways pushed for this change at an online open house discussion on this subject held by TRAI in May. When Railways employees were using Airtel, the telco wouldn't charge them per SMS when they were sending bulk SMS messages between employees. But after Jio got the Railways contract, it charged them 50 paise per SMS beyond the first hundred texts as required by the TRAI regulation. It's unclear why Airtel and Jio behaved differently here. We have reached out to COAI, Airtel, Jio, and Vodafone–Idea Limited for comment on this development. TRAI: Telcos can still charge for SMS for retail users Telcos uniformly pushed back against lifting the limit, arguing in the open house discussion in May (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 there any regulation which prescribes that you can’t charge money for SMSes beyond a certain number of texts?”, he asked. “In my view that doesn’t exist because nobody…
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