Bulk SMS Ban Creates Confusion Among Customers and Operators – Five SMS a Day, or Five SMS together in Bulk at a time?

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On August 17th, Govt of India banned all "Bulk SMS" and MMS services for 15 days across the country to curb spread of rumors which has led to exodus of North Eastern people from certain parts of country by issuing directive to all mobile service operators.

While the ban was on "Bulk SMS" it soon became apparent that the ban did not intend to restrict only BULK sms but also all SMS sent from individual SIM cards, once the count of SMS exceeded 5 text messages per day per SIM.

It has been just 2 days since this restrictive order, however it has already created huge confusion among operators and has impacted almost all prepaid subscriber (more than 90% of total mobile users) in India.

The Directive to Ban Bulk SMS and MMS clearly asking all mobile operators not to allow mobile phone users to send more than five SMSs or MMSs in Bulk or at one go over the next 15 days (as we shared in earlier post) but many operators have interpreted it as "Not more than 5 SMS per day per SIM card", which has in turn ended up creating huge communication hurdles for many prepaid mobile service consumers across all circles.

At TelecomTalk we were flooded with Email, Calls, Tweets and comments on posts regarding this SMS Ban. We also got customer feed back from all circles across India from our esteem active readers, many postpaid subscriber had no problem sending as many SMSs as they wanted to at one go while many prepaid customers were barred from sending more than 5 SMSs during the day even some reported that they cant even send one sms.

There is huge confusion among almost all mobile operators  about the government/ DoT order to ban bulk SMSs / MMSes leading GSM Operator Vodafone India informed its prepaid subscribers in twitter stating "As per the instructions received from the Government Regulatory, there is a restriction on sending more than 5 SMS per day from prepaid numbers for the next 15 days. We regret the inconvenience caused."

We also spoke with our sources across several operators including Airtel, Idea Cellular, BSNL, and almost all operators. Each of them said that they could not implement this directive for all their postpaid subscriber due to technical limitations in their GSM/CDMA system. However the same was not true for prepaid users, as the ban was almost immediately implemented as 5 SMS per Day per SIM. This has been done as '5 SMS per Day per SIM'  because DoT's requirement of  "5 SMS in One GO or Bulk' for each or every subscriber is technically not feasible in current system across all operator.

Its the era of twitter and Facebook but it was surprising to see even the most active operators who are in social media didn't care to inform its users except Vodafone India who was responding its each and every user stating why it was banned.

We would like to end this story with a Interesting reaction which we came across on Twitter by Sachin Kalbag, Executive Editor, Mid Day:

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