Cellular Companies and Constant SMS Spamming

Download Ring Tones for latest hit songs, answer this questions and win gold, valuing millions, do this and do that – these are kind of messages a Pakistani mobile subscriber get every other hour.

These SPAM SMS messages, which initially were meant to be a free VAS to keep customer updated about latest promotions have now become a major revenue generating source for cellular companies.

This deem true especially in case of lucky draws and quizzes – as cellular companies bombard each and every subscriber (except postpaid) with these quiz messages to lure maximum number of mobile subscribers to participate in any particular quiz.

It won’t be out of place to mention that one reply from customer to such lucky draw messages makes at least Rs. 10 for respective mobile operator, while they get million of such replies for each campaign.

To get maximum engagement, these SMSes are often sent in roman Urdu or even in Unicode to make sure that each and every mobile subscriber is able to reach and understand the message.

This goes worst if you are an MNP user – in this case you will not only get promotional messages from your current operator but your ex-operator will also keep sending you such irritating messages.

Though cellular operators tell us that subscribers can call helplines to get their number off-list for any promotional message but our readers experience otherwise. Many of our readers keep sending us queries that they have called helpline this and this much time to stop these messages but of no use.

Their only hope is PTA, which is usually not much bothered about such small things. Mobile subscribers urge a simple way to opt-out of the list for receiving any SPAM messages. This would be equally beneficial for mobile operators too – as they can save resources by not sending messages to those who are not interested in such offers.

You can comment below to tell us your story about SPAM SMS that you receive daily.

Tech reporter with over 10 years of experience, founder of ProPakistani.PK


  • Stone

    I dont think you are aware of the fact that PTA has already initiated such a process with all mobile operators and a process is already in place whereby customers can simply call the helpline and optout of any future Bulk SMS broadcast. Doesnt get any simpler than that…..

    Also wrongly mentioned is the fact that operators get millions of responses for each campaign. Most of these campaigns don’t even target a million subscibers so how can they get millions of responses?

    What you also need to note is that the delivery of these messages to the intended target audience is only around 30 to 40 percent successful. The response rate is even lower. Despite all this, one thing is rite that they do generate revenue but not as much as you have potrayed……..

    • admin

      So you are complaining that operators aren’t making much money?

      I know Sonay ki jeet by Telenor and SMS Khazana by Mobilink was targeted to multi million subscribers. Now how much of them responded – is something we can’t argue about.

      Lastly, yes i know there’s a way to opt-out of promotional SMSes (as mentioned in above post), but thing is that procedures don’t work out. This is what my readers tell me.

      • Stone

        No I am complaining that the information you put up is not accurate but you can choose to see it any way you want. As for your second point, I clearly mentioned MOST of these campaigns are not targetted to millions of subscribers.

        Also when you talk about the 2 particular campaigns, each had a simple Keyword which needed to be sent to the relevant campaign short code i.e. for Jazz send STOP to 555 and for Telenor send STOP to 7775. Once again, that is the easiest way to stop receiving messages from each campaign. No human involvement, simple keyword which lets the system opt you out from any messages for them.

        As for whether opt out procedures work or not, well the thing is only those readers will complain who may have faced and issue and not those who actually get these stopped successfully in one attempt.

        You are only looking at one side of the picture. I cannot say that the problem does not exitst but would have been good if you had talked to PTA or the operators and gotten their opt out procedures and then maybe did a poll to find out if they work or not. Otherwise this is mere speculation.

        • Good issue raised by Aamir bhai

        • admin

          I of course checked with celcos about ways for opting out from these promotional messages, but point is that users aren’t opted out.

          Like a comment below said “you just need to be little strict on registering your request”

          Whole point is that the process for opting out should be made simpler, effective and centralized.

        • Anwer Baloch, Quetta, Balochistan

          Spam, Bulk messages… These are more in abundance in the world of email. Of course spam SMS messages from mobile operators are not a welcome thing for many customers, but still in my opinion it is not as big an issue as it is portrayed. In fact I smell a rat behind this hue and cry for making it a big issue. On this Wednesday, the 28th September, 2011, in this same “Pro-Pakistani” this news appeared “India Puts 100 SMS Per Subscriber Per Day Limit”. We have still not forgotten the proposals of 1. imposing “tax per sms” and 2. a Leader suggesting “Mobile phone should not be allowed to common people (AWAAM)and only be allowed to ELITE class”, and, 3. monitoring of those SMS messages which are disliked by the ruling ELITE blood suckers of this nation. My point is simple; the blood-suckers of this poor nation are not “COMFORTABLE” with the quick transfer of public opinion through SMS packages, because this has emerged as another “head-ache” for them like “independent news tv channels”. There is an old saying, “give a dog a bad name and hang it”. So, there were/ are/ and will always be attempts by the ruling class to silence and control the people’s voice and opinion “in the larger interest of Nation and now, may be, in the interest of customer”.

        • milkywayer

          Dude, what are you talking about? I’m shit tired of the constant spamming and nagging sms adverts from ufone about their sms/utones/rintones etc messages.

          There is no way to stop this flood of unwanted spam, i wish i could sue ufone over this spam. I pay them for the service they provide, then don’t get to send me advertisment unless they let me make free calls. it’s as simple as that.

          • Anwer Baloch, Quetta, Balochistan

            May I suggest you something. You are a Customer, Right? You pay them, Right? You are not their employee, Right? Simply call their help-line Number 333 and harshly talk with them.

            • milkywayer

              LoL? I know my rights.

              As soon as I read about the PTA initiative to block spam messages (here on this page somewhere), I already called them up and got those adverts blocked (or atleast i’d like to think they’re blocked now).

              P.S. My reply was to the comment one level high, not you.

    • Stone you are right that we can make a request to stop.

      But here is my story. I control all connections of my family (14+ connections warid, zong, ufone)

      Very rarely that their promotional SMS messages are stopped on request, otherwise they never stop. Even if you complain to PTA, Helplines, Email, Service center visits.

      My family connections are more than 5 years old and they get hell of spam advertising messages specially by Ufone more than once in a day.

      Zong sends promotional SMS messages at 2AM night when you are sleeping.

      • Stone

        Funny thing is I have tried it for Mobilink and Telenor and it works for both of them. I am sure users have issues with these 2 operators as well but this seems more like a case of general perception. Since 3 of the companies have a negative behaviors, it is only natural to assume that the other 2 are the same.

        Just like you I am saying this out of personal experience. So although there is a process in place, the 2 biggest operators actually pay some attention to following it while according to your experience the other 3 dont.

  • akanuke

    The very last day I have requested my network to stop sending me prom’ messages of any kind….n guess what i haven’t received a single prom’ text in last 24 hours….you just need to be little strict on registering your request.

  • navy

    PTA has zero action on complaints.

    For example, Starting from last midnight, (yes mid night around 2:39 am), i have received 3 times “A A Nazia” type SMS/business card containing command to snatch my balance.
    I have complained large no of times to mobilink on this issue along with the sender and beneficary numbers but mobilink has not taken any serious action. This has lead me to think that mobilink officials will be involved in such activity.

    Even sending a complaint to PTA has not rsulted in anything good
    :(

    • ITS ALL ABOUT EMPTYING POCKETS OF INNOCENT PEOPLE THROUGH DIFFERENT FLIRTS.

  • My mom is playing a quiz offered by Telenor for 1kg gold (i dont know the exact winning prize)

    everyday they send messages like

    “You are about to win, keep answering, one day ago a winner got 5 tola Gold. you can be the next one.”
    i ‘ve many times asked my mother not to answer and participate but she is now saying that she have wasted more than 2000 in this and now leaving the game is not good as there is hope to get something.

    She keeps asking me and my other brothers about the questons asked by them, and now finally they have started asking question which none of us can answer.
    for example last question which i remember was that who was the man of the match in 1960… LOL

    what you guys ‘ve to say about this?

    • Stone

      You have heard of google haven’t you? :p

      • Here in Pakistan some people even dont know about Internet, so using google or Wikipedia is beyond that.

  • Karim Javed

    They automatically subscribes me to their info service every time, after i unsubscribed this several times.

  • Ali

    yes bro . i also teased of these type of spamming . plz do it a complaint to PTA to ban such an operator who navigate these things

  • I hate Ufone because of such cheap offers that actually lure the customer in cheapest possible way…

    I am a proud postpaid user of Warid postpaid but my Dad who is a customer of Ufone MNP from telenor is a true victim of this issue.
    He never responded to such offers, still he gets 5-6 spam messages from Ufone daily. Morever, both telenor & ufone send such sms at 1:00-2:00AM in the night & He has to put his cell phone in silent mode before going to sleep… What the hell is this yaar.

    Called the helpline but they gave another number which did not do any good except eating up the balance.

    • Khan

      There are very strict policies about not sending any late night bulk messages to customers by cellular operators. Ufone and warid dont send any messages after 9 PM and I am pretty much sure that Telenor must also have a similar rule. Perhaps your Dad is recieving promotional messages from some private advertisers. Once your number is part of any such advertising list, they wont leave you alone.

  • Muneer Ahmad

    Thanks for the post…

    PTA should do something about Ufone.

  • samz

    look at the tribute story, because of typos it seems they are talking about my messages!!

    Sam messages have become a major revenue generating source for cellular companies.

  • Uzair

    They are not only sending spam messages because today i recieved a call from 034555555xx and the person told me about the easy paisa promotion. And also asked me weather i would like to participate in this campaign or not. They have become beggars now.

  • Ahmed

    Warid send a message almost everyday “Kia ap apnay naam ka matlab janna cahtay hain…” O bhai I already know meray naam ka matlab, if I haven’t replied 100 of such messages you sent before, you must have enough brains to work out on this that if a customer isn’t replying to any of your SPAM you must opt them out of this crap.

    Why do you automatically deactivate when customer isn’t using GPRS if you can’t automatically deactivate such Spamming if customer isn’t replying any of these ?

  • Rosa

    Spam, Bulk messages… These are more in abundance in the world of email. Of course spam SMS messages from mobile operators are not a welcome thing for many customers, but still in my opinion it is not as big an issue as it is portrayed. In fact I smell a rat behind this hue and cry for making it a big issue. On this Wednesday, the 28th September, 2011, in this same “Pro-Pakistani” this news appeared “India Puts 100 SMS Per Subscriber Per Day Limit”. We have still not forgotten the proposals of 1. imposing “tax per sms” and 2. a Leader suggesting “Mobile phone should not be allowed to common people (AWAAM)and only be allowed to ELITE class”, and, 3. monitoring of those SMS messages which are disliked by the ruling ELITE blood suckers of this nation. My point is simple; the blood-suckers of this poor nation are not “COMFORTABLE” with the quick transfer of public opinion through SMS packages, because this has emerged as another “head-ache” for them like “independent news tv channels”. There is an old saying, “give a dog a bad name and hang it”. So, there were/ are/ and will always be attempts by the ruling class to silence and control the people’s voice and opinion “in the larger interest of Nation and now, may be, in the interest of customer”.
    +1

  • naheed

    You have to work optn out

  • Aman Pir

    Ufone is the main culprit of these kinds of SPAM SMS. PTA please take strict action against Ufone and Mobilink

  • Mohammed Khan

    THIS KIND OF SMS LEAD TO RESPONSES BY CHILDREN AND INNOCENT PEOPLE WHO HAVE NO IDEA THAT THEY ARE BEING FLEECED – SEEMS LIKE A SUITABLE CASE FOR “SUO-MOTO” …

    THIS I AM SURE WOULD BENEFIT MILLIONS – UNLIKE THE SELECTED FEW IN MANY CASES ….. ….

  • Khurram Shakh

    I am sick of SMS promotional and that others are pouring into even from Mobilink JAZZ please stop it. REQUEST PTA TO STOP IT PLEASE DO STOP.

  • Peshawar

    i am MNP user and i switched from warid to ufone and now to zong, you can understand how much i am busy in deleting spam messages. :(

  • I’ve never want messages from ufone daily. you can’t believe sometimes a messages were sent by them several times and its too much irritating.

  • aamir

    Dude they have gone far ahead then sms spamming .. Now ufone has started ” call spamming ” they daily call us and tell us that we have this offer and you can subscribe it ……….. other than this call spamming UFONE is robbing its users by auto activating there offers and charging us daily .. e.g ” info service by ufone , MCN etc.. i am victim of Ufone.. and has changed my network already..

  • Zong is also doing it. No action taken while I complained many times on help on.

  • anonymous

    boss sms marketing is a cheap and nice way ..either you do it yourself or by paying hefty sum to operator ..secondly who says to set your sms tone in a caller tone fashion so you have to wake up in the night at 2 am !!

    • So now you are going dictate others about what ring tone they should set??? Are we using the mobile services for free that have to tolerate the BS of operators & also tolerate the cheap marketing monkeys….??? We are are paying for the services we use & operators are providing their services in charity so where are consumer rights???

    • cheap hony ka ya mtlb nai k ap dosry k be intiha sms send kro
      wsy jis tarah, gmail, yahoo, hotmail me spam and junk folder hota h mobile me b hona chahy ta k jis jis ko hm ek dafa spam ya junk me pank day next wo inbox me ay hi nai

  • Ahmed

    Ufone should be given some award for spamming their customers. In ufone you will get 100 sms a week only if one sms sending fails and you don’t recharge. They are so much concerned even if your one sms is not reaching.

  • Kashif Ahmad

    Its really a painful experience to get 10s of unwanted sms every day…

  • Kashif Ahmad

    We should have a DND option for SMS and Calls as well…

  • Ali

    I am using a postpaid telenor, I am not receiving bulk messages from telenor, but my problem is some private companies and people have got the number and they are distributing it to others. You might have heard about a CD database of cell numbers, so they got millions of cell numbers included mine and I get tons of stupid, useless messages.

    There must be a way to report these numbers really who are sending spam messages.

  • Anwer Baloch, Quetta, Balochistan

    In this same forum “PRO PAKISTANI” it was reported by M Mathar on Friday, August 19, 2011, that “PTA Wants You to Report SPAM sms and Calls”. Why there is “NO CRY” to strengthen and improve this mechanism of CONTROLLING SPAM? Only because the ELITE and Blood Suckers of this nation are not comfortable with the quick transfer of news and public opinion through sms, hence, they want to control it. As proof I have pasted the web-link as well as contents of that post here. Read it yourself and be sure, now there is no doubt that the ground is being prepared to deprive people of good sms package facility.

    https://propakistani.pk/2011/08/19/pta-wants-you-to-report-marketing-sms-and-calls/

    Through a public notice in newspapers, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has warned marketers to not to send unconsented, unwanted, fraudulent, misleading, SPAM and/or illegal text messages or calls to mobile phone consumers.

    PTA said that those who will not stop doing so may face legal consequences according to the law.

    In the same notice, PTA has asked consumers to report any such SPAM message/call to PTA.

    How to Report SPAM/Unwanted SMS/Calls?

    If you get any SPAM message or call that you never subscribed, or any call/SMS that you don’t want to get again – then SMS following details to 9000

    •Sender’s cell number
    •Your cell number
    •Any details that you may want to add
    Send this information to 9000 – and leave the rest for PTA.

    Note: Charges for sending an SMS to 9000 are 10 paisas (including tax).

  • Abdul qudoos

    ! kg gold offer sent by mobilink to me and several sms sent daily i stopped them by PTA.
    Thank you PTA.

  • Abdul qudoos

    It is the duty of PTA to stop this non sense but PTA officials also eat commision and take kikbacks.
    Who will minitor this alas.

  • Bilal

    I sent email to ufone with copy to pta, regarding their promotional spam messages. content of my email and ufone reply are as follows:

    ME
    “Dear Customer care,

    Since past few months, Ufone has been sending lot of promotional messages which I never opted for. Instead it should have been subscriber’s choice to receive these messages or not. Why do you forcefully & mandatory subscribe users for such disturbing, irritating and time wasting services. Also, you should publicly let people know how to unsubscribe/ remove this service. Stupid enough, subscriber has to call 25625 to unsubscribe this unwanted/unsubscribed parasite service.

    Rather, you people should focus on call quality, echo cancellation and better network coverage.”

    Ufone Reply:

    Respected Sir,
    This is in reference to your letter (complaint number RWP/****), dated April 19, 2012, regarding the
    promotional SMS being received against mobile number 0333-*******.
    In reference to the same, we would like to clarify that we believe in keeping our valued customers abreast of all
    the matters and whenever a new promotion or service is launched, we inform the same vide all available
    channels which also include short messaging service (SMS). However, in case any of the subscribers do not wish to receive our promotional messages, he/she can dial at 25625 for blocking of the same. Complainant’s understanding in this regard is highly appreciated.
    Furthermore, it is also pertinent to mention here that we have tried several times to contact the complainant at his provided number (i.e. 0333-5105920) dated April 23, 2012, but it was found unreachable. In addition, as per
    our records, the said connection has been ported out from our network dated April 23, 2012, therefore, we are unable to further pursue the matter.
    We assure you our every step is in the best interest of all our valued customers.”

    They are lying that they cudn’t contact me bcoz I was contacted by ufone representative regarding porting out and I insisted to port out.

    PTA reply

    This is to inform you that your complaint has been resolved.”

    I again sent email to ufone
    “Its true that I have ported out. If you must send daily 4-5 sms to your valued customers to keep them ABREAST of all the matters, also SMS/advertise publicly on how to stop receiving the same.”

    I commented on a ufone facebook page regarding sms sending failures, n Mr Qazi Tayyab, Sales & Distribution Manager Ufone farmatay hain “tu network change kar lo, ufone kaun sa aap ki waja se chal raha hai, hahahaha”

    I don’t trust any regulatory authority anymore

  • Acca Tuition Classes Provider

    Calling to helpline cost mobile account charges, You can block spam call and SMS from Cellular Networks such as Warid, Zong, Mobilink, Ufone etc using call and SMS block feature usually available in all latest mobile phones. Therefore you do not have to buy packages for blocking spam calls and SMS from spammers. For Android just install clean master or 360 security or any other you may like. Here is the list of Warid SMS numbers (it does not include numbers for important and free services):
    +9278623
    1001
    2552
    5151
    4242
    6262
    3311
    7777
    5750
    444
    5683
    6667
    7879
    2100
    7272
    4433
    +921700
    3131
    6018
    +9278624
    7171
    3030
    1190
    2227
    2290
    1005
    Please share Call and SMS numbers for other Cellular Networks.

  • Hashim Ali

    I used a call and sms blocker just to block Zong promotional messages and calls. There were so many random numbers of these promotions so it took a quite effort. Even sms blocker failed to block one number which shows with a name “Zong Offers” saying invalid number so can’t block. Now they tease me using this number to send their useless promotions just to annoy me and many others i think.