Mobile operator Vodafone has penalised telemarketing companies for making unsolicited calls to its subscribers, and deposited Rs.50,000 with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) collected as fine. This is the first such instance since the new regulations on telemarketing calls came into force last month.

“TRAI is monitoring and enforcing the regulations for protection of customers from unsolicited commercial calls and SMS. In this regard, Vodafone penalised the first batch of telemarketers by deducting the penalty from their security deposits on October 12. Vodafone, the service provider, has deposited Rs.50,000 with TRAI in compliance with the regulations,” the TRAI said in a statement on Friday. On September 27, the TRAI enforced ‘The Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations.' Violators could be penalised up to Rs.2.5 lakh, while habitual offenders would be blacklisted.

Under the new regulations, subscribers can opt for either the ‘Fully Blocked' category or the ‘Partially Blocked' category where they would receive commercial SMS as per their choice. For registering under the ‘Fully Blocked' list, a customer can either call 1909 or send SMS ‘START 0' to 1909.

To curb companies and people from sending commercial SMS, the TRAI has restricted subscribers from sending more than 100 SMS per day. However, dealers of telecom service providers and DTH operators, e-ticketing agencies, social networking sites and agencies providing directory services have been exempted from this.