TRAI Instructs Telcos To Block Violators Sending Pesky Calls And Smses – Telcos Should Act Fast

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The ghost of  pesky calls and smses does not disappear despite various measures of  Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). TRAI has told telecom operators to identify and block those violators sending commercial calls and messages through the Internet from servers located outside India. If intent is there, telecom operators can certainly identify and block the unsolicited calls and messages.

“The operators have been asked to track Internet from servers outside India, which is being used by telemarketers to send unwanted messages. Telemarketers are playing a cat and mouse race. They are going one step ahead than what we do”, TRAI chairman, R.S. Sarma told reporters on the sidelines of the National Telecom Summit, 2011 on Friday.

Earlier, telecom minister, Kapil Sibal had expressed the government’s helplessness in curbing unsolicited calls and messages to over 85 crore mobile phone users even as the ban on such communications came into force from September 27, 2011.

He had stated that the operators and the concerned agencies are unable to track calls or messages sent by telemarketers through Internet servers located outside India. He had said that the government has no jurisdiction over the issue and has no solution to it either. Sarma however said that the government and the telcos were already working on it. “Operators have been told to gear up and take adequate action against offenders. Operators have already been able to track down many such violators and are blocking them”, he said.

Before implementing the scheme, TRAI in association with Department of Telecommunications and  leading telcos, should have discussed all the problems which they will come across. Since, bulk and unwanted messages market in India is worth over Rs. 335 crore, with over 16,800 crore bulk messages being sent to mobile users every year. Service operators would not like to forego the revenue which they generate by selling bulk sms packages. In my view, service providers are not serious enough to address this issue of unsolicited calls and smses for commercial reasons.

In order to make this scheme successful, TRAI will have to take stringent action against service providers and impose hefty fines, if there are repeated violations through their networks. They should also ensure that mobile users complaints should be addressed in a time frame in a satisfactory manner and they should not give ambiguous replies to the users. Onus should be on service providers that mobile users do not get any unsolicited call and sms if they have registered themselves for not disturbing them.

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