'Companies cannot block text messages' -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

‘Companies cannot block text messages’

LAHORE: Cellular companies cannot block immoral, unsolicited and obnoxious text in Short Messages Service (SMS), as there is no mechanism to do such a thing, said officials of various cellular companies on Thursday.

The Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA) had earlier instructed the companies to block unwanted and obnoxious SMS, and take action against offenders by jamming the offenders’ SIMs and handsets without any delay.

A representative of a cellular company told Daily Times that it was not possible for the company to block text messages because no such system or mechanism had been invented anywhere in the world. “The PTA has directed the companies to take action against the people sending ‘banned’ messages, and we are following that order. However, the company takes action only when the receiver complains about such SMS,” he said. “First we warn the sender. If the company receives another complaint against the same user, it blocks that number for good.”

Harmful messages: A PTA official said that companies had been told to block ‘harmful’ SMS because some cyber thieves were depriving mobile phone subscribers, especially the prepaid users, of their credit through messages. “These thieves have adopted various methods to tempt and tease subscribers. They send SMS, urging users to subscribe to their offers and get surprise gifts,” he added. The official said that another method of getting users’ credit was by telling them to reply to a particular message. “When users reply, their balance is transferred to the sender’s account,” he added.

He said that he telecom authority had also sounded a warning to the senders of ‘banned’ text messages that legal action would be taken against them. The authority had also establishing a complaint centre in August 2007 to help the subscribers in this regard, he added. He said that the PTA centre forwarded the complaints to respective mobile companies for warning offenders in the first step and then blocking the SIMs/mobile phones if the complaint was received again.

The PTA authority claimed that complaints were decreasing. A PTA official said that in the last five months of 2007, the authority had received 1,553 types of complaints against 69,456,939 subscribers. However, the number of complaints reduced to 979, while the subscribers increased to 78,451,326 in January 2008. “Due to a constant effort, timely action and awareness campaign in the electronic and print media by the PTA and mobile companies, criminal element have been discouraged,” he said.
Source: Daily Times