Should TRAI punish Google for pesky calls?

Three telecoms — Aircel, Tata Teleservices and Reliance Communications – generated 80 percent of complaints against pesky calls in the last two years. Is Google responsible for a part of the menace? Should TRAI punish search engines?

TRAI in the recent past tried to curb the pesky calls and SMS through a number of guidelines. But the telecom regulator failed to reduce such calls and messages.

Even leading IT companies such as Dell, SAP have calling agencies to sell their products and disturb consumers.

This correspondent last week received a call from Hindustan Times, which is trying to sell subscriptions.

Should TRAI punish Google for pesky calls

Whenever we Google for a housing loan and a good property to buy, you can expect at least 3-4 calls or SMS on your phones. We tried this several times to prove. Google earlier maintained that it does not share user details. But your user behavior is known to marketing companies.

Special Note: I am not against Google. We respect this search engine giant and its contribution to human community. Our digital start-up is growing globally thanks to Google and other search engines. But pesky calls and SMSs are a menace. I mentioned about Google since it is the #1 search engine in India. (I was told Google is under pressure in the US. market thanks to Yahoo!.)

The other thing we experienced in the past is the quickness in getting some SMS on phones. For instance, if you give a missed call or the receiver is not taking a phone call, you may get an SMS immediately. This indicates that even your telecom operator is tracking your moments and messages are delivered when your phone is active.

This means TRAI needs to widen the scope of its current target. Besides search engines like Google, telecoms like Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular, etc. should be on the radar of the telecom regulator. I am not sure whether Facebook also shares such details.

You may also read Tip to telecom regulator to control pesky calls to mobile users

PTI reported between September 27, 2011 and August 21, 2013, customers made 627,384 complaints against pesky calls.

TTSL, RCom, Aircel accounted for almost 80per cent of the total (telephone) numbers against whom complaints were lodged for making UCC (Unsolicited Commercial Communications) in last two years.

The data show over 2,45,700 complaints were made against numbers of Tata Teleservices (TTSL) network. Over 1,78,000 were against RCom numbers, while over 57,000 grievances were lodged against numbers belonging to Aircel network.

Vodafone and Airtel come next in the list with over 52,000 and 40,000 complaints received against numbers on their networks.

Over 20,000 complaints on pesky calls and SMSes originated from Sistema Shyam Teleservices network, 16,667 from Idea Cellular, 6,338 against Uninor, 3,768 BSNL, 2,889 Loop Mobiles, 2,048 MTNL, 1,527 Videocon and 486 from Quadrant Televentures during the period.

The recent TRAI guideline — levy fine of Rs 5,000 per message on telecom company — is also not effective as my Facebook friends, LinkedIn contacts and colleagues are still complaining about unwanted calls and messages.

Baburajan K
[email protected]