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73% Indians Get 4 Or More Unwanted SMS Every Day

A 14 percent have got spam SMS in the last 12 months about earning money

A total of 74 percent of citizens say they still get spam SMS despite registering on TRAIs ‘Do Not Call Registry, as per a LocalCircles survey. A 14 percent have got spam SMS in the last 12 months about earning money. Only a minor reduction observed in the volume of unsolicited SMS received by citizens in the last 2 years, the survey said.

After SMS and OTP disruptions were reported for banking, payment, and other transactions, the TRAI for 7 days suspended the implementation of norms for commercial text messages or SMS which came into effect on Monday. TRAI on Tuesday informed that it has observed that some of the Principal Entities (PE) have not fulfilled the requirements as envisaged in Telecom Commercial Communication Customer Preference Regulation (TCCCPR), 2018 and as a result, their SMS were getting dropped after scrubbing by Telecom Service Providers (TSP).

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TRAI added that this was to protect the consumer from inconvenience faced due to not receiving these messages. However, what that means is that the consumers will continue to receive spam SMS messages for the coming week and if TRAI extends the same, for even a longer period.

LocalCircles has now conducted a follow on a survey to check the citizen’s pulse on unwanted and spam SMS, to understand if there’s been an increase in UCC and if Regulator’s “do not disturb, or DND” initiative has been any effect at all. Also, citizens’ opinion on spam SMSs were compared with previously conducted surveys to understand the change over time. The survey received more than 35,000 responses from citizens located in 324 districts of India.

In the first question, citizens were asked how many unwanted SMS they receive every day on average? 37 percent said they receive 4-7 messages every day, 36 percent said 8 or more, 25 percent said 1-3, while only 2 percent said they don’t get unwanted SMS at all.
Per aggregate votes of citizens indicated that 73 percent get 4 or more unwanted SMSs every day. The question to the survey received 7,632 votes. In the last 2 years, there’s been a minor reduction in the volume of unsolicited SMS received by citizens, which could be attributed to lockdowns and office shutdowns.

SMS
74 percent citizens say they still get unwanted SMS despite being registered on Do Not Disturb. Pixabay

A total of 74 percent of citizens say they still get unwanted SMS despite being registered on the Do Not Disturb (DND) list; minor reduction observed in the volume of unsolicited SMS received by citizens in the last 2 years while 73 percent still get 4 or more per day. Many people face issues of unwanted telemarketing messages and calls made to them by fraudsters, spammers, telemarketers, despite registering on TRAI’s Do Not Call Registry (NDNS). More shocking is the news of around 93 million phone numbers registered with the TRAI’s “Do Not Call Registry (NDNS)” kept on sale on the Darknet in February 2020.

LocalCircles survey finds that 74 percent of mobile subscribers still receive unwanted SMS despite registering for the Do Not Disturb (DND) list. Only 4 percent said they do not get them. 18% said they’re not registered on the DND list and 4 percent said they don’t even know that a DND list exists. In the last 2 years, more citizens complain of getting unsolicited SMS despite being registered on the DND list.

According to the telecom regulator, as of May 2018, there were 23 crore mobile subscribers registered with the DND registry. LocalCircles survey finds that 74 percent of mobile subscribers still receive unwanted SMS despite registering for the Do Not Disturb (DND) list. Only 4 percent said they do not get them. 18 percent said they’re not registered on the DND list and 4 percent said they don’t even know that a DND list exists. In the last 2 years, more citizens complain of getting unsolicited SMS despite being registered on the DND list.

SMS
26 citizens say at least a quarter of the unwanted SMS comes from the mobile service provider itself. Pixabay

26 citizens say at least a quarter of the unwanted SMS comes from the mobile service provider itself; Unwanted SMSs sent by mobile service providers reduce in the last 2 years
Per TRAI, the number of registered telemarketers is roughly estimated to be around 7,500 as of August 2019, while there are lakhs of unregistered ones, including fraudsters and spammers. Till May 2019, TRAI disconnected 18,19,470 unregistered telemarketers and blacklisted another 5,89,589.

Per the LocalCircles survey, 26 percent of citizens say at least a quarter of unwanted SMS messages that they receive are sent by their mobile service providers. 43 percent said this number was between 0 and 25 percent. Other 21 percent of citizens said none of these are from the service providers, while 10 percent were unsure about it.

ALSO READ: India In Top 10 Most Spammed Countries In 2020

Banking, Insurance, Real Estate, Local Services and Earning Money offers primary drivers for spam SMS; Banking, Insurance, Real Estate, Local Services SMSs reduce while Earning Money offers an increase in the last 2 years. SMS is a low-cost way of sending information across citizens and is hence very popular among businesses. Right from a multi-million-dollar insurance company to a newly opened food stall across the road, many businesses use SMSs to reach out to the customer in search of getting more business.

The following question asked citizens the category under which they receive the most promotional SMSs. Of whom, 26 percent said real estate offers, 26 percent said banking and insurance offers, 15 percent said local (health, medical, beauty, etc.) offers, 14 percent said earning offers, 9 percent said telecom or mobile service offers, while 6 percent said others (eCommerce, telecom, etc.). The survey result indicated that unwanted SMS related to Banking, Insurance, Real Estate, Local Services reduce while Earning money offers increased in the last 2 years. (IANS/SP)

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