Telecoms regulator throws spam in can

TRA launches a plan to end the nuisance of mobile phone spam once and for all.

There are few things more annoying than the barrage of spam text messages on mobile phones. The offer of reduced prices at your local supermarket, membership deals at the country club and, perhaps most annoying of all, a bargain text-messaging plan from your mobile service provider regularly interrupt movies, meetings and meals. It seems the UAE's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) shares the frustration, as it yesterday launched a plan to eradicate the nuisance once and for all.

"After receiving many complaints from customers about random marketing SMS messages, the TRA decided to introduce this new policy to curb the annoyance such messages cause," said Mohammed al Ghanim, the director general of the regulator. It remains to be seen if the latest policy will curb spam text messages as the TRA issued a similar policy last year that has yet to stop the flood of unwanted advertisements.

In light of the announcement, Etisalat said its customers could opt out of spam messages by texting "b etisalat" to 1011 without paying a penalty. And du users can text a blank message to 5293 to block all mobile spam. It is not known whether either company intends to publicise this latest initiative with an SMS marketing campaign.