TRAI’s SMS Licence Raj – Part 3

A day before Diwali, TRAI changed some rules yet again and slapped a 5 paise surcharge on promotional SMSes. Effective immediately. No notice period whatsoever.

A 5 paise surcharge where the average price is in the region of 2.5 paise is a crushing blow to the industry. The result was a trebling or in some cases quadrupling costs. Campaigns had to be halted instantly.

Of course, the SMS industry is a small one (about Rs 200 crore in all). It may also take a while for consumers to notice what they are missing: information that would be otherwise readily available and could help them economically  in daily services or with information on buying of goods or services, no longer being available on the medium most accessible to them – the mobile.

The fact that a regulator can act so arbitrarily repeatedly in 2011 is what is shocking. As a colleague put it: “TRAI’s solution to the SMS issue is comparable in stupidity and overprotectiveness to the One-Time Password for IVRS payments and 3D Secure Code for online payments. These solutions are like isolating a PC from Internet to protect it from viruses.”

Continued tomorrow.

4 thoughts on “TRAI’s SMS Licence Raj – Part 3

  1. the new TRAI reform of charging Rs 5 Paise as termination charges per sms has given me a rude shock the cost as where I would pay 2,000/- until last month has now Rosen to Rs 7542 (with service tax)
    That means every time I have an advertisement campaign I am now shelling out Rs 5,000/- per (lac sms)
    I want to ask you Mr Gandhi though you have nothing to do with TRAI how can a small entrepreneur like me afford to lose such a big amount & have a viable business, times are so alarming that I am now thinking to close my business & take up “HAFTA WASOOLI” that is what this government is expecting the citizens of India to do & maintain their families.

  2. I feel the 3D Secure is a good initiative for Credit Card transactions and should have been thought about long back.
    But the way it was implemented, it was chaotic and did create discomfort for many users.

    For me, creating a new 3D secure ID was a surprisingly pleasant experience with ICICI Bank and Visa Card.