The SMS cap limiting the maximum number of SMS you can send from a mobile number to 200 is back. The decision, which brings much disappointment to heavy texters, came about with the Supreme Court of India staying the order of the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) yesterday.
TDSAT earlier revoked the TRAI circular that limited the number of SMS one could send in a day. Reports suggest that it was on the pleas of Aditya Thackeray, Uddhav Thackeray’s son, that TDSAT passed the order. In yesterday's hearing, a bench headed by Justice G S Singhvi not only stayed the tribunal's order but issued a notice to Thackeray too.
Reports in the media confirm that the SC passed the order following an appeal by TRAI and asked Thackeray to reply to the regulator's plea within six weeks. As it stands, TRAI can “enforce the circular till the apex court vacates its stay on the verdict by the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT).” The TDSAT earlier this year referred to the SMS cap as “arbitrary”, and against the right of freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under the Constitution, and had set aside the sector regulator TRAI's circular.
200 SMS per day, per SIM order continues
Thackeray reportedly submitted that the SMS cap was just a “non-application of mind” by TRAI and the circular fixing ceiling “has not explained why and how the figure of 100/200 SMS(s) per day was arrived at.” Thackeray added that no consultation process was adopted by TRAI before incorporating the clause in this regard in the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference (8th Amendment) Regulation, 2011.
The issue grabbed national headlines last year when the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) put to effect a cap on the number of SMS one could possibly send in a day, per SIM. At the outset, the cap was fixed at 100 SMS per day, per SIM. The move was met with a lot of criticism from the masses, many of whom send more than 100 messages per day, instead of actually making calls. It also exposed a flaw in the setup, which stated that a person with multiple SIM cards wouldn't really feel the pinch.
While the new decision to lift the cap to accommodate 200 SMS per day, per SIM still puts a limit to the maximum number of SMS one can send in a day, it was by all means welcome news.
Earlier this year, TRAI exempted text messages generated by and sent to computers or technical systems from the daily SMS cap. Basically, the 200 SMS per day cap has been lifted only for cases where the device used is not a mobile phone and there is no manual intervention required for answering the message. This is done to enable businesses to send messages to its employees. This would also help various services, such as taxi booking via radio, for communicating delivery of goods, etc.