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Commentary

TRAI Anti SMS Spam Rules From Sep 27

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.

Changes:

  • 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?

Also read:

  • piyush modi says:

    i trade commodities on mcx… i get my marks the next morning only.. sometime between 8-10… not sure though thats an issue with my broker or mcx itself sends out the marks the next morning..

  • piyush modi says:

    I will have a day without knowing about some random apartment coming up in some random area of NCR. Oh, the joy of ignorance
    🙂

  • Robin says:

    Hey deepak,
    taking this discussion a bit astray.
    I just wanted to know if Smartlink has distributed its dividends already, cause the book closure date was way back in July.
    I havent received it, so wanted to confirm from you.
    Thanks

  • Shiva says:

    Atleast for blocking spam SMS I use smsBlocker software, costs Rs 50 but i got it for free.
    Serves the purpose, even bulk sms sent from friends are shown before blocking.
    But for the random calls I still maintain ‘Do Not Pick’ to upload all calls in my cellphone contacts.