The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has been working on eliminating the menace of pesky SMSes since a while now. Even as the common man continues to be bothered by these pesky SMSes, the nation’s Telecom Minister has shared that he hasn’t been spared either. At the Worldwide Cybersecurity Summit, Kapil Sibal shared that he was a victim of pesky SMSes, too. “Trai is taking it up (pesky calls/SMSes issue). I also face lot of problem. Every two minutes I get such SMS. People…used international servers (to send such SMSes), but that also has been stopped. I met Trai Chairman. He will ensure that this is not going to happen anymore, he told reporters. Interestingly, when quizzed on the issue of pesky calls, TRAI Chairman Rahul Khullar said that something should be up by November 5. 

Mobile operators will now have to give suggestions to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on ways to tackle the issue of unsolicited messages, and they have 15 days to comply.

New guidelines should put an end to pesky SMSes (Image credit: Getty Images)

No one's spared from the menace! (Image credit: Getty Images)

TRAI has been working towards the elimination of pesky SMSes since a while now, and this move is another step in that direction. In an open house discussion on the topic of unsolicited commercial communications (UCC) involving mobile operators, telemarketers and consumer groups, TRAI Chairman, Rahul Khullar stated, “All of you have 15 days time (October 25)…You have to come back to me with any suggestions”. Khullar further stated that if the mobile operators do not respond within 15 days with their suggestions, then TRAI would have to decide on the matter. “I have a practical problem on my hand and I want practical solution,” he had said. 

In its draft of the Telecom Commercial Communication Customer Preference (Tenth Amendment) Regulations, 2012, TRAI has ” put forth that there be 'disconnection of resources of entities for whom the promotion is being carried out after ten violations.” The revised regulations are expected to be released by November 5. The draft regulation asks providers to put in place a mechanism to block the delivery of unsolicited SMS “with similar signatures from the source which sends more than a specified number of promotional SMS per hour.”

Khullar asked the operators to offer suggestions pertaining to fixing the limit for promotional SMSes; technical solutions, which can be implemented to block such messages; and the costs involved in this.

The draft regulation provisions that operators take an undertaking from customers that the SIM purchased shall not be used for telemarketing purposes. It also requires the operators to take an undertaking from transactional message sending entities to ensure that they would use only registered telemarketers for their promotional activities.

The draft regulation also suggests that consumers lodge complaints pertaining to such communication by sending an SMS to 1909. It asks telecom operators to inform subscribers via text messages at least twice a year against sending any commercial communication to others.

The regulations that were a part of the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations, 2010, were implemented only after September last year. As of March 29, 2012, TRAI has had a victorious march. The TRAI had allowed subscribers, who did not wish to receive unsolicited commercial calls and SMSes, to register their preferences under the National Customer Preference Register (NCPR). 

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