- TRAI may withdraw SMS tariff of 50 paise that it charges from phone users after the limit of 100-messages per SIM has been reached.
- It said the regulation was not needed as it had earlier introduced new rules in 2018.
- For now TRAI has invited comments on its proposal and stakeholders have until March 3 to respond.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Tuesday proposed to do away with the fixed rate of 50 paise that is charged from consumers for every SMS sent beyond a daily limit of 100 messages per SIM.
Back in 2012, TRAI had notified a minimum rate of 50 paise per SMS after the exhaustion of the daily limit its tariff order. This was done in order to avoid pesky messages, new agency PTI reports.
With the introduction of Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations (TCCCPR) 2018, it is felt that regulation of tariffs for SMS may not be required, TRAI in its draft proposal said.
Accordingly, the draft telecommunication tariff (65th Amendment) Order, 2020 proposes withdrawal of regulatory provisions relating to tariff for SMS introduced by Telecommunication Tariff (54th Amendment) Order, TRAI said.
Previously, TRAI in TCCCPR in 2018 had explained that it had nearly 900 million subscribers and that it was the second largest wireless market in the world. It had said that even though low tariffs had enhanced the direct reach to customers, it had also brought issues related to privacy as well as spamming which became a major irritant to customers.
So, TRAI used a set of new rules to increase the cost of sending messages once the daily limit was exhausted. The regulations also required companies to register themselves for commercial SMS and calls. The purpose of this was to recognise fraud companies from authentic ones.
However, now TRAI believes that the situation has improved considerably as far as individual users are concerned. The agency believes that entities that have to send bulk messages are now registered with it, and are well regulated. So, for individual users -- that is you and me -- it can stop charging that 50 paisa per SMS once the daily limit of 100 free SMSes has been exhausted. It is also worth noting that whether this limit stays or goes away, it is something that will not make much difference to individual users. Reason? When was the last time you send 5 SMS in a day? You can't recall, right? This is because we don't send SMS nowadays. We WhatsApp and that uses data connectivity and not any SMS limit. Nowadays, most people just receive messages.
Still, if TRAI removes the 50 paise charge on messages sent after 100 SMS, it may help users who are yet to move to a smartphone.
For now TRAI has invited comments on its proposal and stakeholders have until March 3 to respond.