A user receives spam sms Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: Unwanted SMS messages could become a thing of the past under a new policy rolled out yesterday by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) to minimise spam from 7am to 9pm each day.

Mobile users will also be given the choice to block their numbers from spam providers.

In a statement, the TRA said the new measures will "minimise marketing messages [spam] sent to customers without their consent, with a current focus on the mobile SMS. The policy will be binding to both service providers (du and etisalat) with instructions to take appropriate measures to fight spam, and to give consumers the choice of receiving such messages or not."

Complaints

Mohammad Al Ganem, TRA Director General, said that "after receiving many complaints from customers... the TRA decided to introduce this new policy to curb the annoyance such messages cause.

"All consumers will receive messages from their service providers requesting their consent with regard to receiving marketing SMS. Clients will not receive commercial SMS unless they approve it. Approvals are stored and retained either on paper or electronically for later review as per the policy requirements," Al Ganem said.

Etisalat said in a statement that its mobile customers will be able to choose the SMS they receive. Customers can "simply send ‘b etisalat' via SMS to 1011 in order to unsubscribe from the promotional marketing messages from Etisalat."

"We care for and understand what our customers require and are happy to make this new option available to them as we are now empowering them to decide what content they receive and from whom," said Khalifa Al Shamsi, etisalat's Senior Vice President of Marketing.

Du customers who do not wish to receive promotions need to send a blank SMS to 5293, the provider said yesterday.

If promotions are accepted, an SMS to 7000 can be sent. "[We offer] the possibility of opting in or out of receiving such information," said Fareed Faraidooni, du's Chief Commercial Officer.