Mobile firms see no need for law on spam

First published: 05th November 2004

It is not surprising that mobile-phone operators do not see a need for a law on spam, when they are the main sender of unsolicited and promotional messages to their customers. In my own experience of three mobile operators, they all persisted in sending me unwanted SMS messages, even after I had told them not to several times. Excuses included that the messages "were not promotional" or they had somehow lost the customer preferences during a system update.

They are perfectly correct that the cost of sending an SMS or MMS message makes a spam campaign prohibitive, but there is one exception: the incremental cost for the mobile operator themselves is zero. The situation could also change if an operator changed its pricing structure, such as making intra-operator messages free.

Although the volume of SMS spam is little compared to email spam, it is much more intrusive. The mobile operators have shown that they are not willing to behave responsibly, and the potential for greater abuse exists. Therefore we should introduce anti-spam legislation that covers all type of electronic messaging, including mobile messaging, as soon as possible.

Updated: 02nd June 2011

The Unsolicited Electronic Messages Ordinance (UEMO) came into effect on 22 December 2007. Senders of commercial electronic messages are required:

The UEMO also prohibits: