Bharti Airtel Stops Bulk SMS Business – Other Service Providers To Follow?

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When you get a SMS these days, in most likelihood it will be something like the one I got today morning which said “Best Buy for Property in Pune: Laburnam Park. Pls Call 26****00“. As much as I want to build an empire in Pune, such messages annoy me to the core.  Spam messaging have almost become a part and parcel of our daily lives. With over 150 million marketing SMSes being sent each day, no one is spared. The problem is compounded with service providers giving spammers a great rate of 3 paise per message with some promising to drop the rates even further. Bulk SMS business in India rakes in an estimated INR 20 crores every month giving providers all the more reason to make bulk SMS rates better. However, Bharti Airtel have gone the other way by dropping out of the bulk SMS business.

Bulk SMS

Airtel’s reasoning

Airtel is making this move after putting the customer above anything else. According to the CEO, Sanjay Kapoor, Bharti Airtel would like to take leadership in the effort to avoid this big menace of annoying  calls and SMSes. Mr. Kapoor believes that TRAI can help towards this by keeping a mandatory price of 5-10 paise per SMS in order deter companies from spamming customers. Customers who subscribe to the Do Not Call Registry (DNCR) at times end up getting such calls and SMSes and according to Mr. Khanna a heavy fine should be imposed on such companies. In the US, such calls are penalized with a fine of $11,000 per call with the fines increasing for subsequent violations.

Will other service providers follow suit?

Bharti Airtel have taken a bold step keeping the customer in mind. However, considering the high revenue in the business, it seems unlikely that other service providers will take the high road. Unless regulators take a firm step towards this issue, customers will continue to suffer.

What do you have to say about Bharti Airtel’s decision to move out of the bulk SMS business?

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7 Responses to “Bharti Airtel Stops Bulk SMS Business – Other Service Providers To Follow?”

  1. sarabjeet
    September 2, 2010 at 6:17 pm #

    atleast someone is thinking at grassroot level

  2. Joyce Jose
    September 3, 2010 at 8:44 am #

    Its just a gimmick by Airtel. By making the rates of sms at 5 -10 ps and actual cost to thm for an sms is .9 ps . So the return will b four times. Based on the volumes today imagine the revenue they can generate.
    Yeah but the part of penalising for calling or sending sms to a DND number should be implemented but requires TRAI to b strict which i dont think they will be able to.

  3. Ashish
    September 3, 2010 at 10:25 am #

    As good as the move is, “customer abobe everything else” is hogwash. Why so sudden change of heart for Mr. Sanjay Kapoor? After introducing fee for talking to cusomer support, circular logic in the call centers where you never reach an agent and lots of hidden charges and constraints in many schemes (special 5, what happened to you?), Airtel is hardly epitome of customer support. I don’t say it’s best, I have Airtel but it’s not what it’s pretending to be.

  4. John Grasham
    September 3, 2010 at 1:21 pm #

    but the point is, does that move worth it??? as long as marketing sms’s are concerned, they should be sent through NDNC filtration only & if it is so, then I guess no man should have a problem. If someone does not wants to receive sms, they can register themselves to NDNC list. So, if this spamming is to be stopped then marketing sms should be sent only after NDNC filtration & everything is fine after that.

  5. mahesh
    September 3, 2010 at 5:00 pm #

    Airtel is the worst service provider,it claims to be number one but its last.Other new service providers like Docomo is better than airtel,the signal quality,call rates,offers everything is worst in airtel.Why diny u think abt the customers when other companies are providing offers.
    Vodafone is the best and its the number one in the market.

  6. Atul Chitnis
    September 5, 2010 at 2:36 pm #

    Damn, MNP (Mobile Number Portability) must be REALLY close :)

  7. Aakanksha
    September 6, 2010 at 5:56 am #

    way to go! Proud to be a Bhartian :-)

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