05:30 pm - Friday 28 April 2017

LBS could be the solution, instead of ban on SMS

By Parvina Purakayastha - Sat Sep 01, 5:49 pm

The Government can impose LBS to the operators to prevent such a crisis in future.

Anupriya, a student of a private University in Noida, wanted to alert her friends and family that her friend has met with an accident and needed blood urgently. But after sending five messages, her operator informed that she cannot send more than five SMSes for the day. Anupriya ,who had taken an unlimited SMS pack, was forced to spend money on making emergency calls to her friends.

The 15-day ban imposed on bulk SMSes by the Government gave mobile users like Anupriya a tough time. The ban was imposed to prevent the spread of rumours that triggered an exodus of people from North-East and from various cities.

When insightvas spoke to Rajan Mathews, Director General of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) about the losses in terms of earning and tax, he said, “The industry has fully supported this initiative of the government and has also implemented the same to the technical extent possible, as it concerns the national security.”

But he admits the loss to the industry, as he adds, “The ban has certainly come at a cost to the industry. The loss on account of total reduction of SMS for 15 days was estimated at around 7% of monthly revenue. The revised increase from 5 to 20 SMS per SIM per day in SMS limits will reduce this amount. However, quantification of the loss will have to wait until after month end financial information is tabulated. On account of reduction in SMS revenue, there will certainly be a loss to the Govt. on account of revenue that could have accrued from Licence fee and Service tax.”

The ban affected messaging firms and also the people who use this platform for telemarketing.The Timing of the order have clashed with the season of festivals and sale. Vendors and businesses usually send upto 10 lakh SMSes a day.

But loss in SMS revenues was a gain for instant messaging platforms such as WhatsApp which saw a surge in usage. During the ban period apps like Nimbuzz and other instant messaging services has been growing. According to Nimbuzz , they have 100 million users on the Nimbuzz platform globally and about 18 million users in India.

PR professional Mouneeta Dewan said insightvas, “SMS has become a way of life. As a media professional, I would like to be connnected .However, with this ban, we found it difficult and it impacted our work.”

This is not the first time that the government has banned such services. During Independence Day, bulk SMS service was not allowed in Jammu and Kashmir. Also, after the Ayodha verdict, bulk service was banned for a certain time period. The licence agreement of telecom operators have conditions under which, in the interest of national security the government can ask operators to ban certain services.

As suggested by many, telecom bodies and service providers should come up with a policy to face crisis. We also request the government rather than restricting services and incur losses for themselves, the government can impose LBS to the operators. The government should consult with operators and service providers and come up with a foolproof policy to prevent such a crisis in future.

Location-Based Services refers to a broad range of services that are based on information about the physical location of a user and/or device. Typical location-based services for consumers might include real-time turn-by-turn directions, the location of the nearest phone, gas station or motel, or social networking services.

The licence agreement of telecom operators have conditions under which in the interest of national security the government can ask operators to ban certain services. But there’s someone who’s happy with the current state of telecom affairs. Most youngsters are hooked to their mobile phones, so most of them would SMS them through the day, instead of calling. Adding on to it they also have lost on their interpersonal skills. The ban has made youngsters more aware of their sorroundings and the parents and well wishers were a happy lot, atleast tempororily.

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