The spam red herring

Tom Pullar-Strecker reports:

Consumers could be deluged with text messages unless the Commerce Commission has a change of heart and lets mobile phone companies charge other telcos a token amount for routing texts to their customers, Vodafone and the Telecommunications Users Association have warned.

The commission is considering outlawing such charges as part of its long-running investigation into mobile termination fees, which Vodafone said yesterday could slash its pre-tax profits by $69 million next year.

The Telecommunications Users Association said in a submission to the commission that the main reason that up to 90 per cent of all email was spam was that it cost people virtually nothing to send. Text spam was a “small but growing problem” that the commission risked exacerbating, it said.

Oh bullshit (with all respect).

Almost all spam comes from overseas. The regulated mobile termination rate will only apply to texts sent between NZ telcos. And NZ telcos under the law have to kick spammers off their networks.

“The single best weapon in the fight against spam is cost. Remove the cost entirely and New Zealand mobile users will find out just how quickly the world of email spam can be replicated in their SMS inboxes,” it said.

With this viewpoint, Vodafone are saying they’d also like to be able to charge ISPs for receiving e-mail in order to stop spam. Can you imagine having to pay your ISP a per e-mail charge?

The reality is that NZ telcos arrangements with overseas telcos for receiving text messages from overseas are outside the MTR regime. And any locally based spam can be prosecuted.

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