iconimg Thursday, September 03, 2015

Manoj Gairola, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, March 13, 2013
Have you received an SMS from your telecom service provider offering a value- added service (VAS) and activating it without your consent?

Most GSM service providers have not implemented a Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) order that makes it mandatory for operators to activate these services only after seeking subscribers' consent either through SMS or email.

Operators earn thousands of crore every year through this practice, said company sources.

The TRAI had, in July, 2011, issued directions to all operators that VAS services should be activated only if a customer provides consent in writing through email, SMS or fax.

"Our members are in discussions with the regulator to implement this condition of the order," said Rajan Mathews, director-general, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI). "There are some technical challenges associated with it."

An official of a leading pan-India service provider claimed that the biggest challenge is that 70% of the people cannot read or write or that they do not have access to email and fax. "Now we are implementing systems where the process becomes transparent."

According to an audit, there were 2.2 crore complaints regarding VAS against operators including Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd during a 15-month period ended August, last year.