Yet Another SMS Ban
Banning bulk SMS seems to have become the natural reaction to any law-and-order issue. The government did it around the time of the Ayodhya verdict and did it again last week. Leave aside the fact that the fear spread was because of P2P SMS, rather than A2P SMS. The government had to be seen doing something, and so hitting a soft target like bulk SMS came easy.
What is lost out in this is how critical SMS has begun for so many establishments. SMS has become part of many business processes. A ban like this hurts everyone. And there is no way to protest. It hurts businesses like mine even more since we have to go two weeks without revenue and sustain overheads of a 150-person team for the SMS business. This sort of government interference is just not done. And I don’t think it is going to stop here.
The more I think about it, the more I can understand why the perception is that business in India is hard – not just setting up, but also ongoing operations. Over the past two years, the government and TRAI have constantly been interfering in the SMS business with regulation and arbitrary orders. This is not what creates a healthy environment for entrepreneurship and enterprise.