TRAI May Discontinue 100 Free SMSes / Day

TRAI May Discontinue 100 Free SMSes / Day

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) may discontinue 100 Free SMSes/Day for Indian users and also 50 Paisa per SMS can be deleted.

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New Telecom Tariff Order, 2020 – No Limit On Free SMS

TRAI thinks that the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preferences Regulation, 2018 is comprehensive and has the necessary power to control the menace of unwanted commercial communications. So, the previous order of regulating the number of free SMS has become irrelevant.

Since the technology driven solutions to identify and curb pesky SMSes and calls are comprehensive, TRAI is in the mood to withdraw its previous order of putting limit on the number of free SMS.

The TRAI in its draft Telecom Tariff (65th Amendment) Order, 2020 says –

“ Considering that the new regulatory framework under Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations, 2018 is comprehensive, it is felt that there is no longer any need of restricting the number of SMSs allowed to be offered on concessional rate  or regulating the tariff of SMSs and thus the Authority (TRAI) has decided to delete Schedule XIII to the principal tariff order.”

During the early 2000s, the telecom service providers used to generously offer a high number of discounted SMS against a very small amount. For example, Reliance GSM used to offer 500 discounted SMS per day for Rs 39. Even Vodafone, whose packs were always at the higher side, used to offer 500 SMS per day at Rs 80.

School / college goers were heavy SMS users as web based instant messaging services were still a distant dream. However, the telecom operators’ generous SMS offerings benefited not just the youths but the telemarketers as well. The heavily discounted SMS packs were misused by the telemarketers to send pesky SMSes.

To stop the nuisance of Unsolicited Commercial Communication or UCC ( in the form of SMS), TRAI brought out many measures. One such measure was the daily SMS capping. On 5th November 2012, the TRAI ordered telecom service providers to limit the number of daily discounted SMS to 100. It was mandated that if a subscriber reaches the 100 SMS limit on any particular day, she would be charged 50p per SMS thereafter till the end of that day.

So now, the TRAI has released the draft Telecommunication Tariff (65th Amendment) Order, 2020. This draft order proposes the withdrawal of capping on the number of discounted SMS. The Authority is waiting for comments and counter comments regarding this order.

In order to curb the nuisance of unwanted telemarketing calls and SMSes, the TRAI, in 2017, introduced the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preferences Regulation, 2018. This regulation proposed to curb the menace of pesky calls and SMSes with the help of technology. TRAI was in favour of using technology based solutions like pattern detection or advanced signature solutions, UCC detect system etc to fight unwanted SMSes and calls.

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