Cell service providers told to change short code digits
Next time you want to participate in a TV poll or download a ringtone using short codes make sure you check the number you message to. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on Monday directed cellular service providers to immediately stop use of short codes that start with either of the digits 0,1,7,8 or 9.
Currently, a number of mobile content providers use short codes such as 8243 (Yahoo! India) and 8888 (Indiatimes) to offer services such as ring tone downloads, games and polling. Some of the TV channels have also been using short codes based SMS services starting with these digits for voting and interactive services. These short codes have been a major revenue churner for mobile operators and content providers because they are categorised as premium service and is charged at Rs 6 per SMS. Now they will have to change the short code on which they offer the service.
TRAI has said short codes starting with these digits are not permissible under the national numbering plan. It has asked the operators to report compliance to the authority within 15 days of issue of this direction.
NATIONAL NUMBERING PLAN “As per national numbering plan, service providers are allowed to use the levels except ‘0\T,7’/8’ and ‘9’ for allocation of short codes to their content providers including SMS based services within their network. It was found that some of the service providers are using the short codes, which are not permissible under national numbering plan,” said the TRAI letter.
The numbering plan of telecom services is decided by the Department of Telecom in such a way that the numbers are utilised efficiently. While ‘0’ is reserved for STD calls, T is used for emergency numbers such as 100 and 101 and also toll free numbers like 1800 and the digit ‘9’ is used for mobile services. While ‘7’ and ‘8’ are not yet allocated for any service, the Numbering Plan has reserved it for new services.
Source: Business Line