Trai asks telcos to block violators sending commercial calls and messages via Internet

Mail Today Bureau   New Delhi     Last Updated: November 19, 2011  | 00:00 IST

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has told telecom operators to identify and block those violators sending commercial calls and messages through the Internet from servers located outside India.

"The operators have been asked to track Internet from servers outside India, which is being used by telemarketers to send unwanted messages. Telemarketers are playing a cat and mouse race. They are going one step ahead than what we do," Trai chairman, R.S. Sarma told reporters on the sidelines of the National Telecom Summit, 2011 on Friday.

The government has been lenient in its efforts to put in place an effective filtering mechanism for unwanted calls and messages telemarketers. Telecom minister Kapil Sibal had earlier expressed the government's helplessness in curbing unsolicited calls and messages to over 85 crore mobile phone users even as the ban on such communications came into force from September 27.

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He had stated that the operators and the concerned agencies are unable to track calls or messages sent by telemarketers through Internet servers located outside India. He had said that the government has no jurisdiction over the issue and has no solution to it either. Sarma however said that the government and the telcos were already working on it. "Operators have been told to gear up and take adequate action against offenders. Operators have already been able to track down many such violators and are blocking them," he said.

The Trai chairman admitted that unsolicited messages and calls continue to be there but said that it has dropped down drastically.

Subscribers who have registered their mobile numbers with the National Customer Preference Registry, earlier known as the National Do Not Call Registry have complained that though the number of unsolicited calls and messages has dropped, they continue to receive such calls and messages. Most such unsolicited calls and messages relate to the real estate industry.

The bulk and unwanted messages market in India is worth over Rs 335 crore, with over 16,800 crore bulk messages being sent to mobile users every year. Service operators sell bulk SMS packages, typically of one lakh SMSs, for costs ranging between Rs 2,000 to Rs 4,000.

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