[Koha] Bug 9021 does not work in India and needs to be mentioned as such in the docs

Indranil Das Gupta indradg at gmail.com
Fri Apr 1 18:19:26 NZDT 2016

Hi all,

Need a spot of help from you good peeps at Bywater :)

This post[1] from Kyle w.r.t bug 9021 is causing a whole bunch of
confusion among the Indian users of Koha. SMS support is an obvious
much sought after feature and Kyle's fix seems like a wonderful thing,
except that for India it simply does not work and thus needs a
exception disclaimer added to it.

I request that the post be updated with a note like this : "This
feature may not work at all in India due to Indian telecom rules.
Users in India are strongly advised to explore their legal exposure in
using this feature with a lawyer in India"

@Nicole - when you expand the manual, this exception needs to be mentioned.

Let me explain why. Warning long read. :)

Due to the nature of legal and telecom regulatory framework in India,
bug 9021 will for 99% of 500+ million cell phones in India. Briefly,
we have a policy of "sender pays" - receiving texts is free, sending
is not. That is the first blocker for the email to sms scheme. The
facility is offered only on high cost business application packages
where there is a reverse charge mechanism of making the recipient pay
the data charge.

Further TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) has clamped user
to user (not system to user) smses at max of 200 per day, which makes
it unsuitable for a busy circulation system. Further India has
national number portability (NNP) - i.e. a cell phone user can shift
from telco to telco, without a change of numbers. So these days it is
often impossible to tell from number if say it is from Vodafone or
Idea Cellular or Airtel (as user may have shifted between them, but
kept the old number under NNP facility. This impacts the
+91<10-digit-number>@telco.tld scheme of the patch.

Further, under TRAI rules, promotional texts can be sent to only to
cell phone users who are not listed in the national do-not-disturb
(DND) list and only between 9 AM -- 9PM IST. Sending to non-DND and
outside the time window is a fairly serious prosecutable criminal

System alerts and notification texts that need to be sent any time
24/7 have to be sent using what is called the "transactional route" by
TRAI. Users (say a library) who want to send out these alerts have to
do the following before they can send out a text:

(a) sign up with a transactional bulk message service provider

(b) register their sms templates with TRAI for approval

(c) get their users (the text recipients) to opt-in

Legally in India if you wanted to send e.g. an overdue alert to your
user without clearing a,b and c above you can be open yourself up to
criminal prosecution and as well as see action as perpetrator of a
civil wrong. FWIW, SMSes sent user to user typically costs between 10
- 30 times more than a transactional bulk sms text (system to user).

BTW, the list that Nicole found lists a whole bunch of Indian service
providers. Let me clarify that this is dated document and none of
those Indian references work. They got their because about 8 - 10
years back that sort of feature used to work in India as well. But as
the number of spam texts ballooned this access was withdrawn.

[1] http://bywatersolutions.com/2016/02/26/koha-sms/


Indranil Das Gupta

Phone : +91-98300-20971
Blog    : http://indradg.randomink.org/blog
IRC      : indradg on irc://irc.freenode.net
Twitter : indradg

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