100 texts a day limit? India tries to combat mobile phone spam

Filed Under: Featured, Mobile, Spam

Indian man using a mobileNew spam regulations, introduced in India, limit the users of mobile phones to sending only 100 texts per day.

The reason? To stop the growing problem of SMS text spam.

Cellphone usage is huge in India, with more than 700 million subscribers. But with that popularity comes the problem of users being constantly plagued with unwanted calls and text messages from tele-marketing firms.

Under new rules access providers will have to limit SIM owners to sending only 100 SMS text messages a day (or 3000 per month).

In addition, commercial calls and marketing text messages will only be allowed to be sent between 9am and 9pm. A relief for many users who have received mobile marketing communications in the small hours of the morning.

Last month, Indian telecoms minister Kapil Sibal rather optimistically announced that the SMS spam problem would cease to exist within six weeks, following the introduction of a national "do not call" list.

Mobile phone users in India just need to text 1909 to opt-out of receiving unsolicited calls and texts, but of course it remains to be seen if the tele-marketing companies honour the list.

Will the new regulations make a noticable dent on the torrent of SMS spam hitting Indian mobile phone users? Only time will tell.

One thing is certain - sending bulk text messages is becoming cheaper and cheaper, and is more likely to be read by the intended recipient than an unsolicited email message. As such, there will be people who will be keen to bend the rules and continue to send spam messages to mobile phones.

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15 Responses to 100 texts a day limit? India tries to combat mobile phone spam

  1. I seriously dont know what it means to spammers, but for youth, this makes life real hard.. Now the hope is all on data plans.. when they become little cheaper and offer a better speed, youth shall shift to IMs..

  2. Sami · 1472 days ago

    IMHO a 100 texts a day should be well more than anyone should ever need. If we assume that a person is awake ~ 16 hours a day, so sending even that 100 texts a day would make one text every 10 minutes or so, through out the day.
    If anyone thinks 100 texts a day is not enough, I think they should really check their priorities and have a life...

    • I can't disagree with you - but I wonder how many text messages some teenagers send..

      • John · 1472 days ago

        My 16 y/o daughter chooses to use texts to communicate with her friends over any other method and routinely sends/receives 10k-15k messages per month. She doesn't use email or any social networking site, she rarely calls. She's done this for the last 3-4 years and at times taking her texting ability away has been a great form of punishment, but she would be lost if she could only send/receive 100 texts a day.

      • dclaar · 1472 days ago

        We "old folks" think of texting differently. If you replace "100 texts" with "100 sentences", then it sounds silly: "100 sentences a day should be well more than anyone should ever need. If we assume...they should really check their priorities and have a life." Texting is talking, just in a different medium.

        I don't text much, but I use IM. My wife & I use it to keep in touch during the day, to plan dinner, etc. The dinner discussion alone could take 100 messages! Well, OK, not really, but:
        What do you want for dinner?
        I don't know. Maybe chicken.
        We had chicken last night.
        Oh, that's right...

        If you extend that to a bunch of loosely coupled kids trying to make plans to go to the show, or the mall, or whatever, it is easy to see how they would shoot right through 100 messages in *minutes*.

  3. Graphiclineweb · 1472 days ago

    "Mobile phone users in India just need to text 1909 to opt-out of receiving unsolicited calls and texts"

    If only our local legislators (South Afirca) would do the same!


  4. schmunzelmonster · 1472 days ago

    The UK's Telephone Preference Service works so well that I actually MISS telemarketers. I used to enjoy being sarcastic and/or playing with their minds. Example...

    Him: "I'm not selling anything, I'm just doing a survey. If you were to replace or double-glaze your windows, how many would it be? 1, 2, 3 or 4?"

    Me: "I'm not sure. We have a lot. I'll just go and count".

    40 minutes pass in which I occasionally listen to the phone and can hear from the breathing that he's still there.

    Me: "Hello. You still there? Sorry to take so long. I lost count. I'll have to start again".

    But I have to admit the peace and quiet is preferable.

    Knowing that the law provides a large fine for failing to check the database makes a big difference. Unfortunately it doesn't weed out automated calls with the originating number blocked or calls from overseas, but we seem to get very few of those.

  5. Josh · 1472 days ago

    A lot of spam does come from India not to mention rogue Data centers and Botnets to let .

  6. Nigel · 1472 days ago

    Forgive my ignorance here, but I rarely use a mobile phone at all, let alone for texting. (I didn't even know it's called "SMS" outside the U.S. until recently.)

    Anyhow, it seems to me that, with all the technological sophistication that seems to be increasingly built into mobile phones, they could easily include a "white list" feature, wherein the user enters the numbers of parties from whom he wishes to receive text messages, and all others are automatically excluded.

    If so many users are so irritated by unwanted text messages, it seems they would be glad to manage their own message traffic. Why is it necessary to have the state interfering with private communications, imposing Draconian limits on the number of text messages people send to each other?

    Besides, if the "Do Not Call" feature is effective in India as it is here in the U.S., it will be a bad joke. My numbers are all on the "Do Not Call" list, but that doesn't stop the telemarketing vermin from calling.

    Oh...and as anyone with teenage daughters can attest, a 100-message limit would be unworkable. It's part of their lifestyle now. I'm all for letting them manage it themselves.

  7. Don · 1472 days ago

    The real number of subscribers in India is about 500 million. http://www.telecomcircle.com/2011/09/ghost-mobile...

  8. hanith · 1472 days ago

    100 sms ped day i s bull shit.. i text a lot to my girl ..i can talk to her when i m in office.. so ill text het .. i use 500 msgs per day

  9. Brian · 1472 days ago

    You have to realize, as soon as you put a limit on something, that number is no longer a limit, its a benchmark.

  10. schmunzelmonster · 1471 days ago

    500 a day during working hours!? That's more than one a minute. Time you were sacked.

  11. siddharth · 1471 days ago

    @Graham: I will tell you how teens use more than 100 texts per day.

    Assuming that an average person has 10 close friends, he/she sends 10 "Good Morning :)" texts.

    And before lunch, at least 20 to thirty forwards are sent to close friends. Also include the few "Where are you?" "Meet me here." texts (make it 10.)

    The total is 60.

    If the person is in a class or at work and is bored, a few texts are sent to friends to start a conversation. It leads to at least 20 to 30 texts again by evening.

    The total now is 90.

    In the evening, texts are sent to friends asking them to meet at some place to hangout...

    100 is easily crossed. And the person in no where near a hardcore texter :P I have seen people who cross 10000 texts in less than 30 days. If you want to calculate per day, do the math yourself. I am tired.

    I got a text, here I go :P

  12. Peddlefeet · 1471 days ago

    Am I the only one who finds the display picture hilarious?

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About the author

Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog at https://grahamcluley.com, and is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley