In a move, which proved to be a benchmark of sorts, last year, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) declared that users troubled with an endless stream of calls and SMSes from telemarketers could put an end to it by registering their number under NCPR. The National Customer Preference Register or the NCPR allowed users to block 'unsolicited commercial calls and/or SMSes'. While this clearly meant that the registered numbers would never receive SMSes, and calls from telemarketers, it also put some bars on the limit of SMSes that could be sent and/or received. However, riddance seemed a better bargain. Soon, however, it seemed that the relief was shortlived, since some telemarketers used a different ploy to continue sending messages to battered users – they moved to servers located overseas. Soon enough, in an almost replica of their previous situation, despite being registered under NCPR users began receiving scores of SMSes.

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

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

Now, after careful contemplation and planning, TRAI issued an official statement following which, all Access Providers and International Long Distance Operators will be expected to block all bulk international SMSes. When the TRAI began receiving complaints from irate users about receiving scores of SMSes, despite having registered, it decided to look into the matter. Here's what it found – It was seen that generally such SMSes originated from locations within Germany, Sweden, Nauru, Fiji, Cambodia, Bosnia, Albania, Grenada, UK, Jersey, Sint  Maarten, Tonga, Vanuatu, Namibia, Panama, Antigua and Barbuda, among others. Additionally, SMSes from these locations were found to come with alphanumeric headers or began with +91 or numbers with international codes, further rousing their suspicion. Soon, the regulatory body held meetings with telcos and ILD operators to discuss at length about this menace. It was decided that there is, indeed the need to have a stronger framework of guidelines in place, which could keep such unsolicited communication in check, especially ones which come from foreign-based servers. Given below is TRAI's 3-point plan to effectively tackle the issue:

  • All international SMS containing alphabet header or alphanumeric header or +91 as originating country code should not be delivered through the network. 
  • If any source or number from outside the country generates more than two hundred SMS per hour with similar ‘signature’, the same should not be delivered through the network. However, such restriction shall not be applicable on blackout days.
  • Only valid codes associated with the network of those entities with whom agreements have been signed by the Access Providers shall be allowed in the network.

Considering that to put the above mentioned guidelines to work effectively, the telcos and operators need time, TRAI has issued a 30-day duration. What do you think of these new guidelines? Do you think they would be effective in barring SMSs coming from foreign-based servers? Let us know in the comments section below.

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