TRAI SMS Regulation – 5p Termination Charge For Promotional SMS; eCommerce Exempted

TRAI has released an amendment to its existing regulation around the telemarketing spam in India. The amendment makes 2 major changes:

1. In order to further deter the sending of promotional SMSs, the Authority has now prescribed ‘a promotional SMS charge’ of Re. 0.05 (five paise) payable by an Originating Access Provider to the Terminating Access Provider for each promotional SMS sent by a registered telemarketer from the network of the Originating Access Provider to the network of the Terminating Access Provider.

2. Authority has included the following categories of SMSes in the definition of transactional message:-

(i) information sent by e-commerce agencies in response to ecommerce transactions made by their customers;

(ii) information sent by a company or a firm or depository participant registered with Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) or Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA) or Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI) or National Commodity & Derivative Exchange Ltd. (NCDEX) or Multi Commodity Exchange of India Ltd. (MCX) to its clients pertaining to the account of the client;

(iii) information sent by a registered company to its employees or agents or to its customers  pertaining to services or goods to be delivered to such customers;

In all TRAI has confused the access providers with more clauses and there is going to be more chaos. Though for now eCommerce companies can take a breather.

The main motive of the fight, which we have reasons to believe is between Airtel (max consumers) – Tata (max bulk SMS provider), is now finally being served with the termination charges on the SMS being enforced.

One interesting part remains as to how the international SMS providers would be blocked from sending SMS to a India number?

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