FREE SMS messaging service for India only that may prove to be incredibly useful for citizen groups and NGOs. The service allows anyone to set up a group of mobile subscribers to message to, or for a group to message each other many-to-many. A user can receive news alerts and blog updates via SMS, for example; or a group can group-text message to each other.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Tata Tele moves tribunal against Voda on SMS fee

New Delhi: Tata Teleservices has approached telecom tribunal TDSAT against Vodafone's notice threatening to disconnect termination of SMSs on its network over a dispute on certain fees. Vodafone had issued termination notice to Tata Teleservices Ltd (TTSL) asking it to pay Rs 188 crore as SMS termination fee by November 17, failing which it would disconnect the Tata group firm SMSs from its network. 
    TTSL's petition was put on Friday before a special vacation bench of Telecom Disputes Settlement and Ap
pellate Tribunal (TDSAT). 
    During the proceedings, both the parties agreed to put the matter on November 20 for next hearing. Meanwhile, Vodafone has also assured the tribunal that it would not stop interconnection of TTSL SMSs from its network till the next date of hearing. 
    "As agreed by both the parties, this matter may be put up on November 20, 2012 under the same heading," said TDSAT member P K Rastogi in his order. Vodafone is demanding termination fee from Tata Tele at the rate of 10 paise per SMS from April 2011. AGENCIES

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Bharti scion’s ‘Hike’ into instant messaging mkt

Mumbai: Bharti SoftBank Holdings (BSB) — spearheaded by Kavin Bharti Mittal, one of the twin sons of billionaire Sunil Bharti Mittal — is entering the fastgrowing mobile instant messaging market, taking on the likes of Blackberry messenger and Whatsapp. 

    Hike, which is being launched globally, comes after six months of BSB buying a 49% equity stake in a Gurgaon-based mobile start-up Y2CF Digital. In an interaction with TOI, the Bharti scion said the mobile app market in India is currently fragmented, which is where Hike will look to come in and plug the gap. The JV will also launch a mobile portal in association with Yahoo! Japan early next year and make an announcement on the gaming front soon. 
    "In the last couple of years, instant messaging has taken over SMS in a big way as operators see revenues decline or remain largely stagnant. Currently, there are five-six different services and no one app ties everyone together. Hike is an attempt to make that happen," said the 26-year-old Mittal who heads strategy and new product development at BSB. Hike, a cross-platform messaging service, will also allow users to send messages 
to people who have not downloaded the app in the form of an SMS. Mittal said he will be working with operators to introduce new revenue streams in order to monetize the app. This will mean tying up with operators on the billing front once the service gains critical mass. 
    The slow uptick of 3G in India has been one of the big deterrents for the growth of data-led services in the country, Mittal said. "In an emerging market, building data services is difficult. So the pace at which 3G is picking up affects everyone building mobile apps. But in the next two-three years, things will accelerate. It is a matter of when and not if," said the self-acclaimed tech enthusiast who has interned at McLaren Racing, Google and Goldman Sachs. 
    The mobile data services market is projected to grow to Rs 67,100 crore by 2015, accord
ing to a recent report by Internet and Mobile Association of India, and will contribute 54% of telecom revenue. 
    Talking about the targets set for BSB's location-based service Hoppr and justlaunched Hike, without giving any specific number of the traffic coming in, Mittal said, "We believe that 10 million is the new one million." BSB is an equal joint venture between telecom-to-retail conglomerate Bharti Enterprises and Japanese communications major SoftBank Corp, which was announced in October last year to build digital consumer properties across mobile, internet, gaming and social media.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Trai targets pesky ads: Pay more for 100+ SMSs


New Delhi: In a fresh bid to curb unwanted text messages spanning sauna belt to apartments, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Monday announced new measures, including hiking the tariff for sending over 100 SMSs a day and an easier system to lodge complaints. 
    Although it decided against levying a penalty that it had proposed earlier, officials said the proposal had not been given up yet. But the immediate focus is on SMSs sent from phones that account for a bulk of pesky 

promotions. Trai said within a fortnight, telecom companies would have to ensure that anyone crossing the 100 SMS mark a day would have to pay at least 50 paise more for every subsequent message. 
    Stating that the telecom regulator had adopted a "zero tolerance" approach towards pesky messages, a senior official said, "This is the first of many measures we are planning to take." 

Call 1909, register for fully or partially blocked category. In partially blocked segment, you can choose from one of the seven sectors —financial services, real estate, education, health, consumer goods & autos, entertainment and tourism SMS to 1909: For fully blocked category, say "START 0". For partially blocked, SMS 'START' with one of the seven options Within 24 hours, you will receive a registration number and the service will be operational within 7 days HOW TO LODGE A COMPLAINT 
    Via SMS: 
Simply forward the message to 1909 

    Add the phone number of the sender and the date on which it has been sent
Trai aims to control cheap bulk SMS packs 
New Delhi: The new guidelines announced by Trai to deal with pesky SMSs — the tenth amendment to the rules on commercial communication or unwanted messages — propose to crack down on messages sent using software applications. Within three months, telecom operators have been asked to put in place a system that blocks messages with same or similar characters. The proposed mechanism will ensure that at best 200 

messages with "similar signature" are sent in an hour. Once this limit is breached, the service provider can block it. 
    "We have arrived at the figure of 100 SMSs after a lot of consultation process," the Trai official said. "Our analysis shows that on an average, a person sends two SMSs a day and 47 in a month. The limit we have prescribed is much beyond this." In any case, registered telemarketers, banks and airlines will be exempted from the new rule. 
    An official said the aim now is to control cheap bulk SMS packs. Currently, mobile service providers offer concessional SMS packs and tariff plans for bulk SMS users. "These SMS packs and tariff plans are being misused by unregistered telemarketers to send promotional SMSs to consumers. To prevent unregistered telemarketers from misusing such SMS packs or tariff plans for sending bulk promotional SMSs, a price restraint has been placed," Trai said. 

Times View: Time to act 
eclarations by the telecom regulator that pesky calls will be reined in are always welcome, but with each reiteration they lose their credibility unless there is some corresponding action on the ground. The reality is that we have been hearing such threats from the regulator for years now but the pesky calls and messages have not stopped, making most people give up hope that they ever will stop. We hope that this time things will be different.

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