The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) today released a draft Telecommunication Tariff (65th Amendment) Order, 2020 on “Regulation of tariff for Short Message Service.” Trai believes that there is no requirement to keep the current 50 paise charges after the daily limit of 100 SMSes as there are enough technologies to detect the spam SMSes. The reason behind Trai implementing the 50 paise charges is to curb the spam SMSes, as part of Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations (TCCCPR). However, Trai now says that TCCCPR 2018 is technology-driven and can curb spam SMSes. For the unaware, telecom operators are now charging at least 50 paise per SMS after the daily allocated limit of 100. This regulation was implemented back in 2012 itself and it is now changing.
Trai Seeks Stakeholder Views on Regulating of Tariff for SMS
To recall, Trai started limiting 100 SMSes per day from 2012, and for every SMS sent after the daily limit, users will be charged at least 50 paise per SMS. Trai introduced the 100 SMSes per day limit to adequately protect the telecom subscribers from the menace of unsolicited commercial communication (UCC). This was in-line with Trai’s measures to curb UCC.
Over the last few years, Trai has been pushing telcos to introduce new ways to curb spam SMSes. In 2017, the Trai also introduced Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulation (TCCCPR) to curb UCC. The new “regulatory framework prescribed under the TCCCPR 2018 is technology-driven and prescribes technological solutions to detect the UCC such as advanced signature solutions, DCC detect system etc,” says Trai.
In-line with this decision, Trai has now drafted Telecommunication Tariff (65th Amendment) Order, 2020, which proposes the withdrawal of regulatory provisions relating to the tariff for SMS in 2012. This essentially means the regulator has proposed to remove the 50 paise per SMS charges after the daily limit of 100.
The regulator is inviting written comments from the stakeholders by March 3, 2020, and counter comments by March 17, 2020.
Trai Pushes Telcos to Implement New Technologies for Curbing Spam Calls and SMSes
In separate news, the Trai has been pushing telecom operators to implement new blockchain technologies to curb spam calls and text messages. Spam messages play a crucial role in India as several consumers fall for these calls and messages. Trai has been trying to save consumers from falling for the spam/commercial messages for years now. It will be interesting to see if the new draft regulation justifies.