Do Not Disturb – Partially

If you’ve submitted your number to a Do Not Disturb (DND) list and think you can rest peacefully, here are a few exceptions. Would you like SMSs that tell you if your flight is late? Or if a book you ordered is on its way? Or if your waitlisted PNR number on the train is now confirmed? Tough luck. The new TRAI regulations have shut everyone out – even the SMSs that you can receive legitimately from the companies you have done business with and hopefully, in future as well. So all those 50% sale offers are going to stop along with some of the little stuff that you actually had a need for. Strange how even the most derided forms of communications have their uses.

You have probably been receiving these notifications from your service provider prescribing a maximum of 3000 messages a month that you can now send out from your phone. That’s it. The authorities have decided that your ration of messages for the day is an average of 100. If your send out that many every hour, you’ll reach your quota in a couple of days, after that, no more messaging for the rest of the month! Your days of cheap deviations around the teachers, your parents and your access to your girlfriend or your boyfriend as the case may be are now at a government sanctioned roadblock. Would be nice to see how the young ones get around this one. They will probably crack it in a couple of days and then text or IM to their heart’s content. The telecom companies’ revenue is going to be badly hit on this one, but they will say it is about encroaching upon the fundamental rights of a person to message.

This must also be the fallout from the Anna Hazare movement where SMSs were used as a simple, inexpensive way to get the information out and mobilise volunteers. Expect this to get questioned in a court of law and argued fiercely by both sides out pretty soon. In an age where the network is already in place, you can’t shut down something that is the lifeblood of the younger generation and expect them to take it lying down. Newspapers and TV are not our primary sources of information anymore.

But back to the Do Not Disturb list. Apparently, a provision has been made for a subscription to make it partially accessible for the companies from a particular sector to reach you. But this is going to take a long time to implement because you cannot ‘whitelist’ SMSs from a single company just yet. That seems to be an area for the next entrepreneur to step up and solve. Ensure that these notifications reach subscribers with them having to do very little. One door shuts and another opens. Companies like SMS GupShup will find their markets squeezed since their lifeblood is dependent on increasing the numbers of messages sent out between their subscribers every day. Another day. Another battlefront.