In a major relief to telecom consumers, who were allowed to send only 5 SMSs or MMSs of 25 Kb a day till Thursday morning, will now be able to send up to 20 SMSs a day.
The department of telecom issued this directive to telecom operators in the city on Thursday, following which most telecom firms started implementing it. Interestingly, major telecom operators are implementing this only for their pre-paid consumers, citing technical reasons.
Meanwhile, cellphone users have demanded refund of half of the rentals of this month which is charged according to the quota of SMSs awarded to each tariff plan. They are also complaining that they were spending more as they had to make more calls because of curbs on SMSs and also facing congestion in the network. Even on the sixth day of the 15-day period for implementing SMS restrictions, the confusion and congestion in networks prevailed. While some subscribers could send several SMSs, others with the same operator and in some cases same tariff plans could not send more than five. The congestion was mainly due to consumers resorting to frequent calls rather than SMSing while the confusion was mainly due to lack of uniformity in applying the directive across all consumer categories.
Achintya Mukherjee of Bombay Telephone Users Association said, “It’s criminal to reduce the quota of 100 to 200 SMS to just 5 and inconveniencing a large section of consumers.” He supported the demand of consumers to return rentals and said such decisions should be taken after taking operators and consumers into confidence. Social activist Ajit Shenoy said though the reason for doing this was aimed at national security, the limit should be relaxed now as the communal tension was fading fast. Interestingly, smaller telecom operators are implementing the directive for both pre-paid as well as post-paid consumers.