Bulk SMS will soon become a thing of the past as the Department of Information Security has decided to tighten the noose on mass SMS campaigners.

In an effort to put a stop to bulk SMSes, which mobile users find annoying and at times are used by scammers and fraudsters, the Department of Information Security under the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) has proposed to set a limit to the number of texts a user can send per day.

The proposed regulations will allow a mobile user to send maximum 5 texts within 5 minutes, 20 within an hour, and not more than 50 within 24 hours.

The limit will be subject to modification by the MIC, should they deem it necessary. Mobile users who wish to exceed the SMS limit may register with their service providers under the condition that they declare themselves owners of their accounts.

The regulation will also prohibit service providers to authorise texts after the limit is reached or charge any fee for them.

The representatives of major service providers, including Viettel and VinaPhone, said further consideration and study are required before the proposed regulation can be implemented as it will affect a number of their user groups.

A representative of Viettel noted that the company has offered a package of 100 SMSes for just 2,500 VND, or just 10 US cents, to students, who often send a large number of texts, sometimes going up to 200-300 per day.

He expressed his concern that the decision will negatively affect the company's sales and urged policy makers to alter the regulation to restrict the number of texts within a given period of time but not the total number of texts.

While the representatives agreed there is an urgent need to tighten control over bulk texts, they also pointed out that the majority of mobile users do not exceed the text messages limit and will not be willing to register for extra texts. They are also concerned that the limit will push mobile users to switch to other free SMS services.

The MIC has agreed to further study the regulation for the time being. It has also demanded service providers to step up efforts in filtering and reducing junk numbers.

A MIC's report published in January showed Vietnam's mobile phone use per capita at 140/100, or 1.4 mobile number each person.-VNA