New Delhi: Telecom regulator Trai and service providers are now working together to find a solution to the problem of telemarketers using international websites to send pesky calls and SMSes-- a menace which has resurfaced within weeks of a blanket ban on them.

Within a month of Trai's regulation curbing unsolicited calls and SMSes came out, telemarketers seem to have found a way of reaching mobile subscribers by using servers located outside the country to send such unwanted commercial communication.

According to the Cellular Operators Association of India's Director General Rajan S Mathews, telemarketers have started sending messages from servers located outside India which does not fall under the purview of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai).

"Trai is concerned, it is looking into the matter as to how it can curb this (the new method adopted by telemarketing companies). We do not want the customer to suffer and we as an
industry are working with Trai to find the best possible solution," Mathews said.

"It is difficult to monitor messages sent through servers outside, but we will find a way out, he added.

Trai has already penalised 15 telemarketers till date and issued notices to 900 individuals for violating the norms. Subscriptions of 90 people have also been disconnected.

Trai's regulation, which came into effect on September 27, says that if an unsolicited commercial communication (UCC) originates from a subscriber who is not registered with the regulator as a telemarketer, the service provider shall issue a disconnection notice to that subscriber.

It further says the phone shall be disconnected if the subscriber continues to send such communications.

In case of violation of regulation by registered telemarketers, Trai has recommended penalty ranging between Rs 25,000 to 2.5 lakh for a violation. Of the over 850 million mobile subscribers, more than 130 million mobile users have registered at the 'National Customer Preference Registry' (NCPR) for not receiving commercial messages and calls.

Subscribers have the option of choosing to be under the 'Fully Blocked' category, which is akin to the 'National Do Not Call' Registry.

However, if a user selects the 'Partially Blocked' category, he/she will receive SMSes in categories chosen.

For registering under the fully blocked list, a customer has to either call or send SMS 'START 0' to 1909. Trai on its website has provided details of registering for preferential sectors like education, health and other categories.

Subscribers can opt for SMSes and calls they want and change their preferences after 7 days of registering for it.

"One has to admit that the number of calls and SMSs have gone down drastically. We as an industry are trying to bring down whatever is still there," AUSPI Secretary General SC
Khanna said.

(Agencies)