Dec 212010

I was shocked to see this below mail in my Gmail inbox (not spam) which promises to send 100,000 bulk SMS at a cost of only Rs 3000 (~ $60). In addition to this obviously annoying measure of spamming many phones’ inboxes, what is more worrying is that they promise a free database of 150,000 mobile phone numbers without the least bid of respect for an individual’s privacy.

Such open trading of mobile numbers is the main reason behind the increasing amount of cold calls trying to sell me everything from bank credit cards, to personal loans and supposedly free overseas vacations. Databases not only contain phone numbers but also personally identifiable information like Name, workplace, home address, profession etc.

I hope TRAI brings in strict regulations to prevent bulk SMS misuse and forces the telecom sector to discourage telemarketers and fly by night operators who have made a commodity of people’s information.

Nov 252009

This one was lone long due. TRAI has been talking about giving consumers the freedom to switch operators without actually switching the number, but cell phone cos seemed to be dragging their feet on this one. After a long time, a date has been given – the end of the year Dec 31st 2009.

It doesnt come without its share of restrictions though:-

  • You cannot port a number from one circle to another. It has to be within a service area.
  • This service is confined to only cities as of now.
  • You have to wait 90 days before applying for number porting.

It makes sense for cell phone cos to make porting as difficult as possible. One they would no longer be able to hold subscribers who pay exorbitant rates just to prevent a number change. And second number porting would cost them money to shift the port.

To avoid any high porting charges, TRAI has come out with a cap on it. The maximum cost is Rs 19, to be paid to the operator whom you are switching to. The operator you are leaving cannot collect any charges. Though I never support interference of the regulatory bodies in pricing as that is best decided by competition, TRAI’s rules are a positive step in this situation. It makes sure most people can make use of this facility and not be forced to tied to one operator no matter how much it demands.

For the regulations, click here.