Is someone at TRAI listening?

TRAIWe might be the world’s most watched and talked about telecom market but come Feb2011, there would be a lot more noise that this industry would make. and all of this because of TRAI’s latest guidelines on NDNC (National Do Not Call) list. While the motivation cannot be questioned (hell, most of us get more than 5-6 irritating SMS/calls everyday), but the solution surely is far from good.

In one single swipe, TRAI would hurt a big chunk of online/ecommerce players – lead generation portals typically need further qualification or undergo tele-sales , and that cannot happen now- atleast for the customers on the NDNC list. Never mind that the customer himself applied for the product/service you are selling – if you are not a bank, insurance co. education institute, airlines, Indian Railways or a government agency you cannot talk to a NDNC customer. Even these privileged few can talk to customers only about their account status and such alerts.

The way I read the notification, even banks would not be able to call customers who applied on their own for a personal loan/credit card if the applicant is on NDNC.TRAI guidelines just give two sets – Transactional communication and everything else. With the first being defined so narrowly that most businesses would fall under the latter category.

This could mean

  • That I will not get a SMS with contact details next time I call Just Dial.
  • If i buy a ticket from BookMyShow – i would not get the booking id on SMS. Will need to note it from email or something or do some other process.
  • If I apply online at ICICI for a credit card, they cannot call me to tell me what docs and what limit apply etc.
  • Most free SMS sites can only send SMS to non-NDNC customers.
  • All operator subscribed Astrology/Joke/Cricket alerts are a big NO. Go get that android today for cricket updates.
  • Applications which sent emails as SMS would be rendered useless unless the subscriber got himself out of NDNC.
  • Google reminders would not work on SMS, even those helpful services for medicine/health checkup reminders.

And to top it all, you would still get those irritating SMS, coz  those guys dont use the enterprise services. They would just shift from one pre-paid number to another . I just wish someone at TRAI was listening and understanding the impact this will have on the SME sector – many business models would lose their viability even when the customer need exists .

Update: This finally went live on 27th Sep 2011 and its very interesting how people/businesses are reacting to this change.