TRAI has issued new regulations to curb the SMS issues amongst operators and help subscribers. These include a new regulation which will lead to an SMS termination charge of 2 paise applicable across networks for non-commercial messages. Along with this TRAI has also passed an amendment on the termination fee to 5 paise for the commercial messages which was proposed in the regulations made in the year 2010. The regulations will be applicable from June 1 this year.
The Short Message Services (SMS) Termination Charges Regulations, 2013, has been issued to resolve the issue between operators over using the receiver’s infrastructure for delivering messages. Newer operators with lesser number of subscribers were benefiting by not paying termination charges and with “unilateral imposition of SMS termination charge” on using the infrastructure of major operators like Airtel and Vodafone with higher subscriber base. Last year, Airtel had taken the initiative and banned SMSes from Aircel, but later allowed it after the government stepped in.
A termination charge is paid by the carrier on which the SMS or call originated to the carrier whose subscriber it is delivered. Without any termination charge, the carrier on whose network the SMS terminated would get nothing and yet is expected to deliver the message using its resources.
Along with this, TRAI has also amended the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations, 2010 which will lead to an SMS charge of 5 paise per transactional SMS. These are mainly applicable to the commercial SMSes.
“The smaller operators are selling bulk SMSs to the telemarketers at comparatively cheap price and the revenue earned by them through the sale of bulk SMS is primarily because they are able to send large number of transactional and promotional SMS to the subscribers of other networks.”
According to TRAI these moves has been taken, “especially due to exponential increase in the number of commercial SMSs, large imbalance in SMS traffic between the networks of interconnecting service providers, unilateral imposition of SMS termination charge and in case of non agreement, disconnection by some dominant service providers and growing litigations amongst the service providers.”
This apart, TRAI has also issued twelfth amendment to the The Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations which will help in controlling the Unsolicited Commercial Communications (UCC). Two years back, TRAI had released DND service as a part of this regulation to resolve the menace of commercial messages from telemarketers, which were sending messages without registering as a telemarketer with TRAI. Telemarketers will not only pay a promotional SMS charge to 5 paise per SMS but will have to adhere to certain guidelines as well.
According to the new amendment the originating Access provider will have to disconnect the services to a commercial telemarketer with immediate effect, if there would be any complaint registered and proven against these telemarketers. Moreover, such subscribers will have to be blacklisted by all access providers for a period of two years to be maintained separately for this purpose. No telecom resources will be allotted to such blacklisted subscriber by any Access Provider. This provision comes into force within 30 days from the date of publication in the Gazette.