‘Don’t impose levy on commercial SMS’https://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/dont-impose-levy-on-commercial-sms/

‘Don’t impose levy on commercial SMS’

Auspi termed proposal unwarranted and requested TRAI not to impose charges on commercial SMS.

CDMA telecom operators have opposed the imposition of a termination charge on SMSes as proposed by telecom regulator Trai,saying the move is anti-consumer,anti-competitive and not based on a scientific technical study.

Trai Chairman J S Sarma,while announcing regulations to curb pesky calls and SMSes,had said the authority was actively considering the announcement of a separate regulation by October 15 to impose a 5 paise termination charge on commercial SMSes to make communications tough for telemarketers.

However CDMA operators’ industry body,the Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India (Auspi),has said the move will benefit GSM players.

“Some of the incumbent GSM operators always propagate high termination charges for calls as well as on SMSes,as it works in their favour. Imposition of any termination charges on SMSes will be anti-competitive,anti-consumer and not based on costs,” Auspi General Secretary S C Khanna said in a letter to the Trai Chairman.

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Termination charges are paid by an operator from whose network calls or SMSes originate to the one on whose network these communications are made. These charges impact tariffs.

Auspi said the technology to carry SMSes does not require large capital expenditure by telecom operators,hence there is no requirement of any incoming airtime.

“Auspi has worked out a termination cost of one-fourth paisa for each SMS Specifying a termination charge of 5 paise per SMS will enrich the operators 20 times of the cost and will set a bad precedent,” Khanna said. He added that prices of bulk SMSes are currently 1.5 to 2 paise and if it shoots up to 7 paise per SMS,this important marketing avenue will be eliminated.

“It would result in thousands losing their jobs as a result of this change in regulation,which will add to the plight of lower sections of society,” Khanna said. Auspi pointed out that India being the youngest country,where the average age of the population is 27 years,it is expected that 400 million youth will be scrambling for jobs in 2014 and mobile marketing through SMSes seems to be an important area of opportunity to absorb a certain portion of this population.

Auspi has termed the proposal unwarranted and requested TRAI not to impose termination charges on commercial SMSes.