Indian Government Limits Text Message Advertisements

December 9, 2011

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.
1. solicit (v.) [suh-lis-it] – to attempt to persuade a person to purchase or buy something
    Example: Social networks are used by many businesses to solicit.  

2. telemarketer (n.) [tel-uh-mahr-ki-ter] – people who sell or advertise products and services by telephone
    Example: The telemarketer persuaded her to buy the new product.
3. irate (adj.) [ahy-reyt] – angry or furious
    Example: Good service prevents irate customers.   

4. unscrupulous (adj.) [uhn-skroo-pyuh-luhs] – doing things that are wrong, dishonest, or illegal
    Example: Most unscrupulous activities are punishable by law.

5. bulk (n.) [buhlk] – the property of having large quantities
    Example: Those who buy the products in bulk will get a discount.

Read the text below.

The Indian government enacts a new policy that stops unwanted text messages from telemarketers who mass send them to mobile phone subscribers.

Sending bulk messages offers great possibilities for telemarketers in India. With an estimated 850 million mobile phone subscribers, India’s telemarketers indeed have a lot of customers to solicit.

CNN Correspondent Sara Sidner explains how annoying these solicitation messages can be. Sidner used to receive an average of 12 SMS (short message service) solicitations per day and several calls. The continuous beeping made her irate, but she opted not to put her phone in silent because she could not risk missing any important messages from work. Instead of reading important messages from the office, family, or friends, she instead spent more time deleting useless advertisements sent to her.

It is no surprise then that more than 130 million people in India signed up for the government's "National Do Not Call" registry. Upon registering one's phone number, the telemarketers can no longer send promotional text messages nor call that number to promote their products or services. Companies that violate the rules will be fined $5000 or face a possible shut down.

However, the new government policy limits the number of text messages from a single SIM card to 100 per day. This keeps unscrupulous companies from using unregistered phones to send bulk messages. To get a little peace and quiet, at least from her mobile phone, Sidner says this is a price worth paying.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.
Discussion A

·         Do you think people are likely to pay for products or services promoted through telemarketing?
·         How do you feel when you receive advertisements via text message?

Discussion B

·         How many times do you send text messages in a day? How about calls? For what purposes do you send text messages or make calls?
·         What do you think life would be like without phones?

December 9, 2011