TRAI Another slam to common man..100 SMS per day!!

 A common man does not need to send more than 100 text messages on a normal day, India’s telecom regulator declared today as an SMS ceiling kicked in across the country.

If Trai appeared to be arrogating to itself the right to regulate the texting habits of people in the name of combating pesky calls, it also seems to have overlooked the practical problems faced by those with hearing impairment who depend on texts to communicate.

Legal and political battles are now brewing over the regulator’s decision to limit to 100 the number of texts that a mobile user can send in a day.

Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray’s 22-year-old son Aditya has announced that he will file a petition within the next two days before Bombay High Court challenging Trai’s move to curb an individual’s “fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression”.

The Congress and the BJP, which have used bulk texts as a way to reach out to the people, are planning to raise the issue with the government through their MPs.

But Trai chairperson J.S. Sarma stuck to his guns and said: “There is no question of phasing out the limit of 100 SMSes per day.”

Sarma brushed aside suggestions that the limit trammelled the rights of an individual. “A common man does not need to send more than 100 messages on a normal day. We have already provided a relief for festivals and special occasions. So, where is the question of discrimination?” he asked.

Sarma said exemptions were in place for some categories and promised more waivers if people inform the regulator of “genuine cases”. Among the exempt categories are “education institutions, banks, insurance firms, credit card companies and public service bodies”.

Texts from social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Orkut, LinkedIn and Google+ to their members in connection with activities relating to their accounts are also exempt.

So far, the exempt groups do not include those with hearing impairment.

Trai has said the ceiling will not apply on festival days. Since some festival or the other is celebrated in some part of the country on most days, it is not clear if Trai will appoint a festival regulator or monitor to keep track of auspicious occasions and their geographical sweep.

The regulator, however, put in place a levy to disincentivise commercial messages ‘ which raises the question why more such measures should not be imposed instead of slapping a blanket ban on individuals.

Trai will slap a 5 paise termination charge from October 15 on mobile operators for commercial text messages originating from their networks. The levy is designed to hem in telemarketers by making it way too expensive for them to send out a blizzard of messages across networks.

“Telemarketing companies need to think about targeting specific groups instead of broadcasting marketing messages at random,” Sarma said.

For instance, if a telemarketing company uses a BSNL network, it will be forced to send messages only to BSNL customers. The termination levy will make it unviable for it to zap messages across all networks.

“Since these telemarketing companies send bulk messages for as low as half a paise per SMS, the additional 5 paise cost per SMS will make their business model unviable. It will deter spam,” said Rajan S. Mathews, director-general of the Cellular Operators Association of India.

But the political class isn’t impressed by the methods that the regulator is using to stamp out spam.

“Our leadership will definitely take up the issue with Trai in the next few days,” said Madhav Bhandari, spokesperson for the Maharashtra BJP.

Echoing him, Sanjay Dutt, the general secretary of the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee, said: “Text messages are the fastest means of communicating with party members and supporters. We interact daily with 652 block presidents, district presidents, AICC members, the media etc. That’s over 1,800 people. It’s absurd if I have to use 18 SIM cards to send out messages to them every day.”

“The government should clamp down on terror, poverty, hunger, corruption and inflation, not SMSes,” said Thackeray, a student of St Xavier’s College in south Mumbai and a leader of the Yuva Sena, the youth brigade of the Shiv Sena.

Sarma said political groups looking to send out campaign messages would have to apply for permission from Trai before they can be granted an exemption.

The regulator’s tough stand on the issue could saddle the UPA with another unintended hot potato.

Activists behind movements such as those led by Anna Hazare have used the SMS as a weapon to drum up support and congregate quickly to beat restrictions that the police had tried to impose on them in the capital. The power of the SMS was also in evidence during the popular uprisings in Egypt and Libya.

Another political pique is not expected to play itself out in public. Many politicians are SMS-savvy and will find their style cramped if the 100-a-day rule survives but are unlikely to complain aloud.

Rural development minister Jairam Ramesh, considered one of the texting-toppers among politicians, said 100 SMSes were enough for him. “This is quite a lot actually,” he said in reply to a question.

Telecom companies said they were also lobbying the regulator to lift the cap and discuss other solutions to check unwanted messages.

It is possible that the two sides are close to a deal but Trai doesn’t want telemarketers to get wind of it in advance.

Sept. 27: A common man does not need to send more than 100 text messages on a normal day, India’s telecom regulator declared today as an SMS ceiling kicked in across the country.

If Trai appeared to be arrogating to itself the right to regulate the texting habits of people in the name of combating pesky calls, it also seems to have overlooked the practical problems faced by those with hearing impairment who depend on texts to communicate.

Legal and political battles are now brewing over the regulator’s decision to limit to 100 the number of texts that a mobile user can send in a day.

Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray’s 22-year-old son Aditya has announced that he will file a petition within the next two days before Bombay High Court challenging Trai’s move to curb an individual’s “fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression”.

The Congress and the BJP, which have used bulk texts as a way to reach out to the people, are planning to raise the issue with the government through their MPs.

But Trai chairperson J.S. Sarma stuck to his guns and said: “There is no question of phasing out the limit of 100 SMSes per day.”

Sarma brushed aside suggestions that the limit trammelled the rights of an individual. “A common man does not need to send more than 100 messages on a normal day. We have already provided a relief for festivals and special occasions. So, where is the question of discrimination?” he asked.

Sarma said exemptions were in place for some categories and promised more waivers if people inform the regulator of “genuine cases”. Among the exempt categories are “education institutions, banks, insurance firms, credit card companies and public service bodies”.

Texts from social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Orkut, LinkedIn and Google+ to their members in connection with activities relating to their accounts are also exempt.

So far, the exempt groups do not include those with hearing impairment.

Trai has said the ceiling will not apply on festival days. Since some festival or the other is celebrated in some part of the country on most days, it is not clear if Trai will appoint a festival regulator or monitor to keep track of auspicious occasions and their geographical sweep.

The regulator, however, put in place a levy to disincentivise commercial messages ‘ which raises the question why more such measures should not be imposed instead of slapping a blanket ban on individuals.

Trai will slap a 5 paise termination charge from October 15 on mobile operators for commercial text messages originating from their networks. The levy is designed to hem in telemarketers by making it way too expensive for them to send out a blizzard of messages across networks.

“Telemarketing companies need to think about targeting specific groups instead of broadcasting marketing messages at random,” Sarma said.

For instance, if a telemarketing company uses a BSNL network, it will be forced to send messages only to BSNL customers. The termination levy will make it unviable for it to zap messages across all networks.

“Since these telemarketing companies send bulk messages for as low as half a paise per SMS, the additional 5 paise cost per SMS will make their business model unviable. It will deter spam,” said Rajan S. Mathews, director-general of the Cellular Operators Association of India.

But the political class isn’t impressed by the methods that the regulator is using to stamp out spam.

“Our leadership will definitely take up the issue with Trai in the next few days,” said Madhav Bhandari, spokesperson for the Maharashtra BJP.

Echoing him, Sanjay Dutt, the general secretary of the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee, said: “Text messages are the fastest means of communicating with party members and supporters. We interact daily with 652 block presidents, district presidents, AICC members, the media etc. That’s over 1,800 people. It’s absurd if I have to use 18 SIM cards to send out messages to them every day.”

“The government should clamp down on terror, poverty, hunger, corruption and inflation, not SMSes,” said Thackeray, a student of St Xavier’s College in south Mumbai and a leader of the Yuva Sena, the youth brigade of the Shiv Sena.

Sarma said political groups looking to send out campaign messages would have to apply for permission from Trai before they can be granted an exemption.

The regulator’s tough stand on the issue could saddle the UPA with another unintended hot potato.

Activists behind movements such as those led by Anna Hazare have used the SMS as a weapon to drum up support and congregate quickly to beat restrictions that the police had tried to impose on them in the capital. The power of the SMS was also in evidence during the popular uprisings in Egypt and Libya.

Another political pique is not expected to play itself out in public. Many politicians are SMS-savvy and will find their style cramped if the 100-a-day rule survives but are unlikely to complain aloud.

Rural development minister Jairam Ramesh, considered one of the texting-toppers among politicians, said 100 SMSes were enough for him. “This is quite a lot actually,” he said in reply to a question.

Telecom companies said they were also lobbying the regulator to lift the cap and discuss other solutions to check unwanted messages.

It is possible that the two sides are close to a deal but Trai doesn’t want telemarketers to get wind of it in advance.

Sept. 27: A common man does not need to send more than 100 text messages on a normal day, India’s telecom regulator declared today as an SMS ceiling kicked in across the country.

If Trai appeared to be arrogating to itself the right to regulate the texting habits of people in the name of combating pesky calls, it also seems to have overlooked the practical problems faced by those with hearing impairment who depend on texts to communicate.

Legal and political battles are now brewing over the regulator’s decision to limit to 100 the number of texts that a mobile user can send in a day.

Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray’s 22-year-old son Aditya has announced that he will file a petition within the next two days before Bombay High Court challenging Trai’s move to curb an individual’s “fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression”.

The Congress and the BJP, which have used bulk texts as a way to reach out to the people, are planning to raise the issue with the government through their MPs.

But Trai chairperson J.S. Sarma stuck to his guns and said: “There is no question of phasing out the limit of 100 SMSes per day.”

Sarma brushed aside suggestions that the limit trammelled the rights of an individual. “A common man does not need to send more than 100 messages on a normal day. We have already provided a relief for festivals and special occasions. So, where is the question of discrimination?” he asked.

Sarma said exemptions were in place for some categories and promised more waivers if people inform the regulator of “genuine cases”. Among the exempt categories are “education institutions, banks, insurance firms, credit card companies and public service bodies”.

Texts from social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Orkut, LinkedIn and Google+ to their members in connection with activities relating to their accounts are also exempt.

So far, the exempt groups do not include those with hearing impairment.

Trai has said the ceiling will not apply on festival days. Since some festival or the other is celebrated in some part of the country on most days, it is not clear if Trai will appoint a festival regulator or monitor to keep track of auspicious occasions and their geographical sweep.

The regulator, however, put in place a levy to disincentivise commercial messages ‘ which raises the question why more such measures should not be imposed instead of slapping a blanket ban on individuals.

Trai will slap a 5 paise termination charge from October 15 on mobile operators for commercial text messages originating from their networks. The levy is designed to hem in telemarketers by making it way too expensive for them to send out a blizzard of messages across networks.

“Telemarketing companies need to think about targeting specific groups instead of broadcasting marketing messages at random,” Sarma said.

For instance, if a telemarketing company uses a BSNL network, it will be forced to send messages only to BSNL customers. The termination levy will make it unviable for it to zap messages across all networks.

“Since these telemarketing companies send bulk messages for as low as half a paise per SMS, the additional 5 paise cost per SMS will make their business model unviable. It will deter spam,” said Rajan S. Mathews, director-general of the Cellular Operators Association of India.

But the political class isn’t impressed by the methods that the regulator is using to stamp out spam.

“Our leadership will definitely take up the issue with Trai in the next few days,” said Madhav Bhandari, spokesperson for the Maharashtra BJP.

Echoing him, Sanjay Dutt, the general secretary of the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee, said: “Text messages are the fastest means of communicating with party members and supporters. We interact daily with 652 block presidents, district presidents, AICC members, the media etc. That’s over 1,800 people. It’s absurd if I have to use 18 SIM cards to send out messages to them every day.”

“The government should clamp down on terror, poverty, hunger, corruption and inflation, not SMSes,” said Thackeray, a student of St Xavier’s College in south Mumbai and a leader of the Yuva Sena, the youth brigade of the Shiv Sena.

Sarma said political groups looking to send out campaign messages would have to apply for permission from Trai before they can be granted an exemption.

The regulator’s tough stand on the issue could saddle the UPA with another unintended hot potato.

Activists behind movements such as those led by Anna Hazare have used the SMS as a weapon to drum up support and congregate quickly to beat restrictions that the police had tried to impose on them in the capital. The power of the SMS was also in evidence during the popular uprisings in Egypt and Libya.

Another political pique is not expected to play itself out in public. Many politicians are SMS-savvy and will find their style cramped if the 100-a-day rule survives but are unlikely to complain aloud.

Rural development minister Jairam Ramesh, considered one of the texting-toppers among politicians, said 100 SMSes were enough for him. “This is quite a lot actually,” he said in reply to a question.

Telecom companies said they were also lobbying the regulator to lift the cap and discuss other solutions to check unwanted messages.

It is possible that the two sides are close to a deal but Trai doesn’t want telemarketers to get wind of it in advance.

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