With a view to counter the spread of rumours and control the migration of north-eastern people from certain states, the government banned sending of Bulk SMS and MMS for 15 days. The regulation came into effect on 17th August, 2012, restricting delivery of more than 5 SMS. As a result, there is a growing discontent among those who use SMS more often than any other way of communication. One of the reasons is that there is unclarity in the regulation due to no mention whether the ban is for 5 SMS per day, or adding more than 5 recipients while sending single SMS. Also, it has not been made clear whether the regulation is for P2P segment or A2P.
The regulation widely got interpreted as ban on promotional messages sent by Bulk SMS Providers in A2P segment, and only on pre-paid connections under P2P segment, as the postpaid connections are guided by technical limitations on GSM/CDMA system. While this regulation is implemented to keep intact the national security and integration, the effect has been more non-constructive in fulfilling the purpose, inviting following criticism:
- Many are of the opinion that it is rightful on their part to receive a notification about cab or ticket bookings. The categorization of message being ‘transactional or promotional’ ought to be taken into consideration.
- Through the ban, though the government was trying to address the viral effect of text messages, the regulation ignores the fact that data-based messaging applications equally facilitate exchange of information including multimedia content.
- Rather than curbing down of SMS, the same should have been used productively by spreading across the message about false rumors.