COAI, AUSPI unable to ban bulk SMS, MMS on postpaid numbers

The telecom operator bodies have affirmed in their letter to the DoT that certain technical problems have limited the ban only to prepaid connections...

Just this past week, the Indian government made its decision of imposing a ban on bulk SMSes and MMSes for a period of 15 days, public. Not only was the decision a widely reported one, but it also got the government a lot of criticism from the masses, since the ban meant limiting users of the service (read SMS) that is so popular. Reports at the time, however, suggested that the ban in all likelihood did not affect postpaid users. Telecom Tiger now reports that both telecom operator bodies -  the COAI (Cellular Operators Association of India) and the AUSPI (Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers in India) have affirmed in a letter to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) that they were unable to impose the bulk SMS, MMS ban on postpaid connections owing to some technical problems. This, however, cannot be asserted for a fact though, since an attempt to send more than 5 SMS (the maximum number) from a postpaid number barred the user from sending anymore SMSes for a while - as stated in one of our previous reports.

 COAI, AUSPI unable to ban bulk SMS, MMS on postpaid numbers

COAI, AUSPI unable to ban bulk SMS, MMS (Image credit: Getty Images)



As it stands today, there exists a ban on bulk SMS and MMS. In the period that the ban is effective, it will not be possible to send more than five SMS or more than 25KB of data at a time from a mobile phone number. While the move on one hand is being projected as a quick fix for a situation spiralling out of hand, citizens across the country are feeling the pinch, for SMS is a very popular mode of communication in the country. Clearly, there are many who are not happy with the latest turn of events. One consumer wrote, "who will pay for those who have subscribed daily sms pack under special scheme like 95 rs for daily 100 sms?  Will government pay me back or network provider?," while another one added, “A kind request to Govt. Plz withdraw this rule as soon as possible even today itself. SMS matters a lot for me.Call is not possible so SMS has become a source of life for me.”


So while at the moment users can send no more than 5 SMS at a time, they may still be able to send 200 SMSes in a day, per SIM – may be painfully slow, but would still work. Interestingly, in our first attempt, when we tried sending 6 SMSes across to a several contacts, the messages went through despite there being a ban. However, when we tried sending more than 5 SMSes to a single contact from a postpaid connection, we were barred after the 5th SMS.  


The Telecom Tiger further quoted COAI Director General Rajan S. Mathews, as elaborating that this is because of the lack of technology,  using which it is  possible to track post-paid users in real-time. As per the report in its letter, AUSPI wrote, "Keeping in view the security requirement, our member service providers have made all efforts to comply with the instructions but have been facing some technical challenges."

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