All stakeholders have been asked to send in their reactions to TRAI by March 3, 2020 and the counter-comments by March 17.

TRAI proposes to scrap dual pricing of text messages
Money Telecom Wednesday, February 19, 2020 - 22:43

If you still use short messaging service, or SMS to communicate with your contacts on your mobile phone you may be concerned with this development. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), is of the view that its existing regulation on allowing 100 SMS messages free and charge anything over that at a minimum of 50 paise each needs to be scrapped, as per a report in the Economic Times.

It is only an idea as of now floated by the telecom regulator and all stakeholders have been asked to send in their reactions to TRAI by March 3, 2020 and the counter-comments by March 17. After that date, the regulator will issue the tariff order which will become law.

The earlier step of limiting the free messages and charging the rest was meant to rein in unwanted text messages. TRAI feels that there are now enough tools in the hands of the consumers to protect themselves from such spam messages and there is indeed no need for a tariff regulation. If finalised, these will be called the Telecommunications Tariff (65th Amendment) Order 2020. The existing regulations were set in 2012.

TRAI had introduced certain rules in 2018, wherein it was made compulsory for the telecom operators to obtain the consent from their respective subscribers for receiving unsolicited commercial communications from telemarketers. A digital technology ledger, on the lines of a blockchain be deployed to monitor and control this so that the messages reached only those who have consented.

The industry will welcome this move by TRAI since they will see one more restriction on them gone. The trade body, Cellular operators Association of India (COAI) has already said so in its first reaction. However, the telcos appear to be more concerned about the unregistered telemarketers who work around the system and carry on with their disruptive practices.

Unfortunately for TRAI, its efforts at having an effective “do not disturb” arrangement to protect the customers from unwanted calls and messages has not been very successful so far.

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