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Telemarketing Software and Lax Regulations Increase Spam for India's Mobile Users

June 12, 2012
By Susan J. Campbell - Telemarketing Software Contributing Editor

Officials in charge of India’s telecom industry recently imposed a ban against unsolicited SMS messaging, but spammers are back at it again. Telemarketing software and loopholes in the system have allowed them to bypass government regulations imposed in September of last year, which slap a fee of five paise for each unwanted text message sent over the networks by bulk text providers. 

According to this Times of India report, one anonymous source responsible for doling out spam messages to wireless phone users says the amount of junk mail is only increasing. The source advised that telemarketing firms have ways around the government fines.

Most companies in the telemarketing industry must register with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai). However, the anonymous source advised that by using mobile phones and purchasing multiple SIM cards, companies can use telemarketing software and Internet sites designed to spew out junk mail to the masses, thus flying beneath Trai’s radar and avoiding fees.

Interestingly enough, an individual can only purchase up to nine SIM cards. A subscriber, however, can purchase as many SIM cards as it wants, making it even more difficult for lawmakers to crack down on these pestering groups. The only stipulation for businesses buying prepaid cards in bulk is that the request must be submitted on the organization’s letterhead. 

Not even those users who signed up for the Do-Not-Call List, or the National Customer Preference Register, as it is now known in India, are safe. Trai’s Do-Not-Call List is actually available for sale. In fact, a telemarketing company can purchase the entire database of unsuspecting customers for a measly Rs 9,000.This price will get you one message per day to every customer on the list, which usually elicits a response. Because bulk messages are sent from a mobile phone number, customers are more likely to read it.

The Do-Not-Call List is like the holy grail of untapped customer potential, so advertisers are willing to spend more money on these customers that they know are off limits, than they typically would otherwise. There are currently 160 million mobile users who placed their name on Trai’s Do-Not-Call Registry. Many thought that the new regulatory measures passed in September would shield them from annoying phone calls and messages from salespeople, but that has not been the case.

As mentioned previously, telemarketing software is offered by some online sites and allows users to forward texts to multiple wireless users at once. No surprise, those on the Do-Not-Call List can also be accessed through the telemarketing software. For those registered telemarketing companies, incurred fees have resulted in a drop in the number of unwelcome messages being sent. 

Unfortunately, the SIM card issues coupled with new telemarketing software allow ways around that. But, that still doesn’t stop Trai from trying to track down unregistered companies. In fact, up until April of this year, close to 45,000 warnings were issued to call violators.While telemarketing software is a powerful tool that delivers significant value for legitimate sales organizations trying to deliver quality products and services for their customers, this is one example of using the platform for illegal gain.

Edited by Juliana Kenny