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100 SMSes is too little

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has come up with an ingenious plan to curb telemarketers, a move that will also curb the sales of QWERTY phones that have parents worried about their kids thumbs!

Starting March 21, mobile-phone users will be limited to sending a maximum of 100 messages (SMS) per day per SIM card or number.

The new rule, under the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations, that was originally to have come into effect from February 27, applies to everyone — telemarketers as well as regular customers. With this, mobile-phone users cannot send more than 100 messages a day even if they are willing to pay extra for this privilege.

While this seems unfair to individual phone users, TRAI officials claim that the regulator was forced to take this extreme step because “there is no fool-proof way to separate the telemarketers and normal users, and the mechanism can be effective only if extended to all SIMs.”

Users can also choose who they wish to receive messages from. TRAI has made a provision by which SMSes containing information of a transactional nature, like bank withdrawals, ticket confirmations, healthcare appointments, can be sent by the service providers, who are allowed to exceed the 100-message limit. But such organisations have to register themselves with TRAI for this privilege.

This new rule updates the existing ‘Do Not Disturb’ rule. MBA student Pranita Thakur says that “the measure is too measured. For students, messaging is very important as it is cheap… I think at least 300 SMSes should be allowed. People who are working only can afford to pay for calls.”
Employed people also empathise with the students. Working professional Chris Issac and techie Sreejith S. agree that the rule would especially affect students adversely.

About the impact on his own use, Issaac says, “I get through a hundred messages by the afternoon. They should allow at least 250 messages a day. Surely, they can do something else to curb telemarketers like increase their rates, or restrict only their messaging to one hundred a day. Why should the rest of us suffer because of them?”

Software professional Sreejith adds that while he does not message a lot, “If TRAI does go ahead with this rule, it would just be taking the easier route and not really addressing the problem. Most people will be very annoyed. I hope they come up with a better plan.”

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