With unsolicited SMSs still haunting mobile users in India, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has now come out with a new proposal under which telecom users just need to forward the SMS to 1909 to punish the sender.
According to a proposal by the telecom regulator, apart from providing an easy way to complain about unsolicited messages, there will also be a provision of Rs 500 fine from the first violation itself and cancellation of connection of unregistered telemarketers on the tenth violation.
The plan is to get access providers to put in place a system that blocks the delivery of unsolicited SMSs that carry similar signatures and come from a number that sends more than a specified number of messages every hour. Even banks or travel portals that send messages related to transactions will now have to hire registered telemarketers, the regulator suggested.
In recent months, mobile users have seen resurgence in messages from real estate agents, travel agents and even those offering to send bulk SMSs, which TRAI said came from unregistered telemarketers who used 10-digit numbers.
One of the reasons behind the surge, a senior officer in the regulator agency said, was the Delhi High Court order lifting the ceiling of 200 text messages a day, a decision which the regulator has decided to appeal against in the Supreme Court.
Although the regulator and the government have moved from a system of a Do-Not Call register a few years ago, it was revamped last September with mobile users given the option to register to fully block or partially block pesky messages. Besides, only registered telemarketers could call.
While the messages did stop, they resumed within a few days as marketers discovered a loophole and started routing messages from other countries. The TRAI official, however, said the regulator had plugged the gap, referred to as modem farming, as it had asked service providers to scrub bulk messages coming from foreign shores.
The draft regulation proposes that operators collect an undertaking from consumers at the time of purchase that the SIM purchased will not be used for telemarketing; and one from transactional message sending entities that they will use only registered telemarketers for their promotional activities.