A2P SMS: The Issue of SMS Spam

A related issue that also needs is the issue of SMS Spam that has grown rapidly in the past few months. TRAI already has a mechanism in place – the Do Not Call Registry. About 10% of Indian mobile numbers are on this list. Telemarketers are not supposed to call or SMS those on this list without their permission. However, as we have all seen, that is not being adhered to. So, what is the solution? One option being talked about is the creation of a “Do Call” Registry. Will that solve the problems?

Creating a Do Call is certainly detrimental. The whole failure of implementation of DNC is being covered up by such a drastic measure. We assume that people who have not registered under DNC are also unwilling to receive unsolicited messages. Everyone knows that this is primarily a big city (top 5-10 cities) phenomenon, in smaller cities this is not even considered as a problem.

Here is what needs to be done:

  1. Make the registry under DNC simple. The simplified process would be thus: Every mobile number maintained by TRAI also maintains a list of  telemarketers who have enquired status of the number. As the status of  DND changes for the number the enquiring telemarketer gets notified. This simplifies the current process immensely since only the changed numbers getting on or off DND need to be notified to all telemarketers. By simplifying process the industry will also see immensely more compliance.
  1. Inform more widely how to register under DNC. TRAI has released ads in the past on the rights of a mobile consumer, I am sure they can do the same for informing people on how to register.
  1. Take stringent measures against NDNC violation by companies and operators. Even people who are under NDNC continue to receive unsolicited messages and calls. There is no evident action taken. Despite complaints to the operator, the same tele-caller continues to call and the same marketer continues to send messages. This means that even if everyone is put under NDNC, still there will be widespread violations and the problem will not be resolved.
  1. Create a robust system to scrub databases against the NDNC list simpler and more widely accessible.

Ineffective application of law cannot justify drastic measures like taking away the rights of consumers and literally declaring an emergency!  The “Do Call” Registry should be strongly opposed.