The GSM Association (GSMA) has brought together 15 mobile operators to sign a code of practice committing them to work together to minimize spam sent via text and picture messages.
Bharti, Cingular Wireless, Hutchison 3 Group, Hutchison Telecommunications International, mobinil, O2, Orange, SFR, Telefonica, Telenor, TeliaSonera, T-Mobile, Turkcell, VimpelCom and Vodafone have adopted the code of practice. Together, these operators have more than 500 million customers in more than 50 countries across all regions of the world.
Overseen by the GSMA, the code commits the operators to work together to investigate cases of mobile spam transmitted across mobile networks and take action where appropriate. Through the code, the operators plan to introduce anti-spam conditions into all new contracts with third-party suppliers, enabling them to suspend or terminate the mobile contracts of spammers.
“Although mobile spam is a relatively small problem compared with spam on fixed networks, unsolicited text or picture messages can exploit and offend mobile users,” said Rob Conway, the GSMA’s CEO and member of the board. “The widespread adoption of this code of practice will minimize these messages and reinforce the mobile industry’s reputation for providing secure and trusted services.”
Among the many provisions in the code is a commitment by operators to monitor networks for signs of spam and to provide mobile users with an easy means to report unsolicited messages. The operators also will offer customers an obvious, clear and efficient means to opt-out of receiving SMS or MMS marketing communications.
Operators are signing up to the code plan to encourage governments to review legal obstacles that may hamper operators’ ability to investigate mobile spam abuses. Such obstacles can include data protection or privacy laws or restrictions on the use of network filters to identify mobile spam and therefore prevent it from reaching customers.
“Vodafone operating company analysis of messages entering our networks suggests that spam levels on e-mail can be as high as 70 percent of all messages received, whereas spam on mobile messaging such as SMS or MMS can be managed down to less than 1 percent,” said Tina Southall, director of proposition and content standards for Vodafone live!