In order to curb the nuisance of unsolicited commercial SMSs, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) is considering imposing termination charges on commercial SMSs.
If implemented, this may help in checking the growing number of unwanted marketing SMSs. Currently, telemarketers send about 75 million SMSs per day, according to the Trai.
This means that a telecom service company where a call or an SMS is originated will pay a charge to the company where the SMS terminates. For example, if an SMS goes from Vodafone to Aircel, then under the new regime Vodafone would have to pay an amount per SMS to Aircel.
This would push up the cost of sending commercial SMS.
At present, a telemarketer pays between three to five paise per SMS to telecom operators.
“Currently, there is no termination charge on SMS. If we implement termination charges only on commercial SMS, its implementation will be difficult,” said an official of the department of telecommunications.
On December 1, the Trai announced “the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations, 2010” to keep a check on unsolicited calls and SMSs.
The new regulations have not yet been implemented as the DoT has not yet allotted number series for marketing SMSs. DoT is expected to issue it soon and the new regulations are expected by October.
“Once the new regulations are implemented, the problem of unsolicited SMS will be tackled to a large extent,” said J S Sarma, chairman of the Trai.
It will include penalty for sending unsolicited SMS, restricting number of SMSs that an entity can send from a number and a different number services for tele-marketers.