Mobile Internet

SMS is no more a convenience

SMS

Short Message Service, commonly known as SMS is a 160 character long text messaging service offered by the telecom players. It was a convenience for the users and was considered a better option than a call in many instances. Until a decade ago, it was one of the most preferred and cheapest modes of long-distance communication. However, this changed with the advent of internet-based messaging or chatting application such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

Having said that, SMS remained one of the most authentic and cheapest sources of communication. The popularity of chatting applications attracted a bigger crowd to itself away from the SMS platform. Gradually the SMS space was taken over by the businesses. It was difficult for businesses to go on social media platforms or make accounts on the chatting apps due to various regulations on commercial usage.

Businesses of all kinds resorted to the SMS for reaching out to a large number of people. The phone numbers that the companies obtain through various sources are bombarded with spam messages. Quartz published a report based on a survey conducted by LocalCircles regarding the Spam SMS. According to the report, 96% of Indians repeatedly receive spam messages.

TRAI laid out numerous penalties for the organisations that misuse the consumers’ numbers for spamming them. However, this never took proper effect and companies continued to spam people. There is an option to activate DND – Do Not Disturb on phone numbers. Even after activating this, more than 70% of people received spam messages on a regular basis.

According to the report, the maximum number of SMSs were sent by real estate businesses and telecom service providers. It is a confusing point as to where these companies get the users’ numbers. Many people claim that they haven’t shared their numbers with the companies they are getting SMS from. This raises privacy concerns among users. If one shares numbers at a shopping mall, convenience store, mobile application and so on, there is a high chance of that number being sold to the companies who are ready to pay a price for it.

The users complained that the companies made less or no efforts towards securing their personal information but kept sending spam messages with full efforts. This has irked the users and now most of the users do not care much for their SMS inbox. Indian internet services are the cheapest in the world and that has contributed to the shift of people from SMS services to online chatting applications.

-Soumya De

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