The new TRAI rules for SMS spam will now begin from Sep 27, after a long time snce they were introduced. (Read article) They had postponed them a few times and then indefinitely, as they waited for DOT to allocate a number series for them for fixed line phones. Apparently, that has been done, with the “140” series going to telemarketers.
A new upload by TRAI says that Sep 27 is the do-date. Remember the old rules:
- All telemarketers to register, and will get numbers starting from 70.
- You can choose to be fully blocked (no calls or SMSes) or selectively enable stuff.
- “Partially Blocked”: You can choose to switch off calls or SMSes category wise; with categories for Banking/Fin, Real Estate, Education and so on. You won’t receive what you don’t register for.
- Service providers like banks and brokerages get to send stuff, but no promotional content allowed.
- All commercial stuff is off between 9 PM and 9 AM. Only downside: things like commodity markets close at 11:30 pm, so the SMS of daily marks will come only the next morning. Okay, yeah, I’m being one niche idiot.
- All data needs to be scrubbed by both the marketers and the telco. Fines for slip-ups is from 25K (First offense) to 2.5 Lakhs (Sixth). Further offenses and the marketer is banned for two years.
- The registration process is just 7 days (from 45). But the catch is – you change your preference once, and you can’t change it for three months more. Whoa.
- Current NDNC registrations automatically get transferred into the “Fully Blocked” category.
- Telemarkers need to register, and pay 10K. They’ll also pay a security deposit of Rs. 1 lakh.
- To avoid regular users trying to subvert these regulations – no packages for more than 100 SMS per day will be allowed for end-customers.
- For complaints there’s a simple short code (1909) to call, toll free. This results in an enquiry and appropriate fine deducted by the service provider.
- Instead of 3 months, you can change your preference once in seven days. (Nice)
- Transactional messages can be sent late at night also (bank and credit card SMS for instance). Earlier everything was restricted between 9pm and 9 am.
- “Constitutional bodies” and TRAI themselves are exempt as senders.
- It looks like you can get a special exemption to send “non commercial” SMS spam, which means the likes of Team Anna can continue to spam you.
This will not be good for Telcos. I think it’s great for consumers. I think many of them telecom types will lose a lot of revenue. The futures of One97 and ValueFirst are also at stake, as are a number of tech startups who depend on SMS based communication (like SMS Gupshup, which raised 45 cr. recently) I wonder how they’ll get around the rules – massive number of sim cards, round robin sending? Massively regulate what they can send?
The greatest thing is: I will have a day without knowing about some random apartment coming up in some random area of NCR. Oh, the joy of ignorance. But will I get it?