The fight on unsolicited commercial SMS on right direction as, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) today issues new directive to telecom operators in the country to further tighten the regulatory framework especially relating to commercial SMS from unregistered telemarketers. To prevent unregistered telemarketers from misusing such SMS packs or tariff plans for sending bulk promotional SMSs, a price restraint of 50 paisa per SMS has been placed  on sending of more than 100 SMS per day per SIM.

TRAI directive - limits free SMS cap to 100 SMS per day, Charging extra thereafter

According to TRAI, customer is free to send more than 100 SMSs, however, all such SMSs sent beyond 100 SMS per day per SIM shall be charged  at a rate of 50 paisa per SMS or rate not lower than the rate prescribed by the Authority. The changes effected by the regulations and the order have to be implemented within fifteen days.

TRAI has also mandated telecom operators to put in place,within three months, a solution, which will ensure that no commercial SMSs are sent having same or similar characters or strings or variants from any source or number. The solution will ensure that not more than 200 SMSs with such similar ‘signature’ are sent in an hour.  However, registered telemarketers, transactional message sending entities and telephone numbers exempted by the Authority are excluded from this provision.  Normal consumers sending non-commercial SMSs will also not be affected by this measure.

Customers can now raise complaints of any unsolicited SMS received by simply forwarding the unsolicited SMS to 1909 after appending their telephone number and date of receipt of the SMS. Operators will also establish a web-based complaint registering system and a dedicated e-mail address to receive such complaints on unsolicited SMS.

For increasing consumer awareness and to caution against misuse, operators have been mandated to send SMS to all customers on periodic basis, advising them not to send any commercial communications and informing them about the consequences of misuse. Whenever a new customer is enrolled for service, the operator is required to take an undertaking from such customer in the Customer Acquisition Form that he shall not use the connection for telemarketing purpose and in case he uses the connection for telemarketing purposes such connection shall be liable to be disconnected.

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