Cellular operators may discontinue SMS packages due to massive spamming

Karachi, October 27, 2019: Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) may ask cellular operators to discontinue SMS bundles and packages due to its misuse for spamming and marketing of products and services causing inconvenience to a large segment of customers.

The end of bundle packages may also hurt customers getting a cheap service of communication but the authority will offer an alternate offer for cheap SMS rates for customers across the board.

According to the consultation paper released recently by PTA, cellular operators will discontinue selling bulk SMS packages unless approved by the authority and SMS should be charged on per SMS basis. In addition, SMS charges/tariff should be uniform across the industry.

The telecom authority is mulling to take this decision on the directive of Lahore High Court (LHC) which was approached recently by a petitioner on this matter. However, the final decision will be taken after the consultation with the telecom operators in this regard as the authority is working on different steps to curb the menace of undesired and unwanted calls and SMSes on mobile phone networks.

PTA has planned to further control over the unwanted and undesired massages and calls, which may formally be called, spam, unsolicited, fraudulent and obnoxious communication and that always cause inconvenience and irritation for the receivers.

1.       The maximum number of SMS should be restricted to 500 per day per subscription.    

2.       The action on fraudulent, /unsolicited/marketing call/SMS shall be initiated on complaint of the consumer as stated above; in addition, the complainant may also forward the content of SMS on short code 9000 for verification/blocking.

3.       In case of fraudulent, /unsolicited/marketing call/SMS, number/ IMEI of caller will be blocked after verification from CDR without issuing warning.

    4.  Instead of Do Not Call Register (DNCR), DO Call/ SMS Register will be developed and introduced so the consumer receives the desired communication only. However DNCR may continue until a Do SMS register is developed.

  5. LDI operators will also develop software to block any incoming international call/SMS from foreign operator with calling party number with Pakistan Code like +92-000000.

 PTA’s details recommendation could be read in detailed here.

PTA earlier promulgated the Protection from Spam, Unsolicited, Fraudulent and Obnoxious Communication Regulations, 2009 and Telecom Consumers Protection Regulations, 2009 for the safeguarding consumers’ interests. Accordingly, unwanted and undesired calls and SMSes were controlled through various steps introduced by regulator and cellular operators in the past such as maintain of grey list for the spam generators and blocking of obnoxious calls through *420# and etc.

Such communication cannot totally be eradicated or there is no such system which guarantees protection for the consumer to avoid any such communication. 

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