Despite attempts at blocking unwanted text messages, the mobile operators keep sending SMS to their customers. These text messages hamper concentration at work and annoy customers.
In many cases, necessary text messages could not be found due to the unwanted SMS flooding the inbox.
The sector insiders blame three reasons--sale of bulk SMS, customers practicing masking technology and sending SMS using multiple numbers-- for the frequency of SMS.
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulator Commission (BTRC) can be contacted to get rid of the problem, they suggested. Moreover, the unwanted text messages can be blocked by approaching the customer care centres of respective mobile operators or calling them.
The people concerned said it is also possible to block the text messages by texting to the designated contact numbers of the mobile operators. But there are allegations that sending SMS to those contact numbers does not resolve the problem.
Meanwhile, the restriction on the mobile operators in sending SMS to their customers between midnight and sunrise is not followed properly.
Customers said they receive several messages from mobile operators and other service providers over the time mentioned above.
BTRC Secretary Sarwar Alam said they had issued a notice titled “Directives on Service and Tariff” in May, 2015 in this regard. The directive also insisted on securing customers’ interest.
Mobile phone users, according to the BTRC notice, are entitled to seek remedy for unwanted service.
“Any mobile phone user can send complaints to the BTRC chairman or secretary in order to get rid of the SMS service,” Sarwar said.
Upon receiving complaints, we will start probing them after taking them into cognizance. Any mobile operator will face legal action, if found guilty, he added.
Even after the BTRC move, the mobile operators did not stop sending their promotional text messages.
On May 15 last year, the then State Minister for Post and Telecommunications Tarana Halim sat with representatives of the mobile operators.
She then said: “Though it (sending SMS randomly) was discussed earlier, the practice did not stop.”
Warning the mobile operators, Tarana Halim had said: “SMS cannot be sent to mobile phone users from midnight to the time around Fajr.”
Sources said the BTRC website (http://www.btrc.gov.bd/complain-management) has a complaint box online and an email address is available there to submit objections. After a customer complains of something, the commission’s “Complaint Management Team” takes different measures after scrutinising the allegation.
One can also complain by dialling BTRC short code 2872.
A high-ranking BTRC official, requesting anonymity, told Bangla Tribune that blocking SMS may help get relief from continuous texts from mobile operators. But it will be a tough job to stop SMS from being sent by different service providing organisations through multiple numbers.
Furthermore, it is difficult to block texts sent through masking, he added.
The high-up said the mobile phone users give their contact numbers to different organisations with a view to securing their membership to enjoy various offers.
“Duly, the respective organisations start texting them. In addition, there are different kinds of telephone directories in market, from which marketing companies collect numbers, thus sending SMS featuring their products and promotional offers,” he said.
It finally becomes a matter of serious inconvenience when texts are sent very frequently. There are also many customers who buy bulk SMS from their mobile operators. The bulk texts are sent to different people, which also cause the inflow of SMS, he added.
Interestingly, the BTRC official claimed the commission does not usually receive complaints to block SMS.
“If so, the complaint management officials will take effective measure. Different ministries, divisions, directorates and organisations of the government also send SMS as part of their campaign on various issues.,” he said.
Texts are also sent on special days, which the customers find unnecessary most of the time, he observed.
When contacted, ATM Nurul Kabir, general secretary of the Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh (AMTOB), said they too feel bored by the frequent texts.
“Then again, those text messages can be blocked through texting back the senders or contacting the customer care centres of mobile operators,” he said.
Kabir said: “An organisation never sends SMS using the same number. Several numbers are used in sending texts in most cases. This is why all the texts cannot be blocked.
Suggesting that the government adopts a guideline in this regard, the AMTOB leader said the practice of texting others by collecting numbers from telephone directories with an aim for promotional campaigning has to be stopped.
Otherwise, the problem cannot be addressed even after formulating a guideline, he said.
“We have to change our culture (of texting unnecessarily). We must have the sense of what makes people happy or leaves them bored,” he advised.
The article was first published on banglatribune