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Should unlimited SMS be discontinued?




Back in the 90’s, SMS used to be free and unlimited with every SIM. Then, the telcos cut them off and offered free SMS quotas. Then they introduced promos and offered back unlimited text messaging.

This time around though, its becoming more of a problem rather than a convenience. And during times like elections, the issue has become more prominent — SMS spam.

Before the unlimited SMS were re-introduced, text spamming can be costly — that’s like Php1.00 for every SMS sent. Today, the just go and but a prepaid SIM from each of the carriers, load it up with as low as Php15 and sign up for unlimited text for 24 hours. That’s it — they can spam all they want without fear of being caught (it’s a prepaid number anyway).


One other solution would be to require registration for every prepaid SIM card bought but that would be close to impossible here in the Philippines (we’re very privacy-sensitive around here).

Or maybe, just make spamming a little more expensive like putting a cap in SMS transmission (e.g. 1 SMS per 10 seconds) or maybe just hike the free daily SMS into the hundreds (500 SMS per day perhaps?).

Is there any better way to stop or even just minimize SMS spam? Or is the unlimited SMS promo just too lucrative a sales funnel to even bother?



Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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36 Responses

  1. Ferdinand A says:

    all prepaid subscribers including Enrile will say no

  2. Andre says:

    I’ll be surprised if our telcos don’t have something like a rate limiter for sending SMS. I’m pretty sure they already have such protection in place.

  3. Kaye says:

    Stopping the “unli” SMS services only penalizes subscribers, not the culprits, for spam. What the telcos should do is skeep tabs on the numbers that send spam text messages. Maybe subscribers who have been receiving spams should immediately report spammers to telcos so the numbers would be deactivated ASAP. Maybe.

    There has to be a way to deal with spammers without alienating consumers.

  4. lalin says:

    i feel so left out for not receiving any of those, I question myself, “Am I a Filipino?” :(

    jk, I don’t like spam esp election spams. I’ve had enough of that on TV.

  5. E says:

    actually even postpaid subscribers are using unlimited promos, so all txters will be affected…

  6. Sanctuarian06 says:

    Yah. Simple as that, wag na maging BIKTIMA, but the right term (sorry) is TANGA na patulan pa ang mga SPAM na yan, alam naman natin kung ano ang SPAM sa hindi and the second way is to REPORT IT IMMEDIATELY TO BLOCK THE SPAMMER at telcos. News Report and Media Tips about this will be helpful also. Yun lang, hindi na kailangang maging KJ ng mga telcos. Their subscribers should have their SENTIDO KOMON.

  7. fr0stbyte says:

    Dapat meron na lang way para i-report ang mga spammers. Para bang website kung saan natin pwede i-report yung mga number na nag-sesend nang fraudulent claims and spam. Pero sa kalaunan merong disadvantages.. Like people submitting false reports.. Innocent SIM owners can get banned if this happens. If there was a way to convert an SMS into a secure file then this can be a solution so that a report can be coupled with proof.

  8. jd.Obedoza says:

    i say no to unlimited texting. mas maraming free text means mas maraming scams and spams. kung pwede ngang gawing php5 per text para mga sensible messages lang.

  9. Jon says:

    Stopping unlimited texting would not solve the problem of SMS Spam. Surely, these spammers would find another way to carry on their “business”. After all, most spammers have lots of money to spend. Jacking up the price of such services would not help either.

    A better way, like some guys suggested is to have a way to report such spamemrs/scammers, and have their number blocked. Also, telcos may also “take advantage” of this and create a service that would block or only allow certain sms’s to be received.

    For us users, some may just ignore them and delete them. Most phones, especially smartphones have features or software widely available that are capable of blocking unwanted calls and SMS. Symbian, Winmo, and Android platforms have such software, AFAIK.

  10. mcv says:

    @Kaye: I absolutely 100% agree with your statement. Subscribers lang ang talo kapag ganito…

  11. Onynz says:

    No, the advantage of having unlimited SMS out-weights its disadvantage…

  12. simplynice93 says:

    The general public should not be penalize for the fault of SMS spammers by stopping unlimited SMS service. There are other alternate solutions to prevent SMS spamming. Persecute the guilty and not the innocent!

  13. anonymous says:

    uso pa rin ba ang text quotes and SMS jokes like Inday jokes? as far as i know, nung college ako i’m a fan of forwarding sms. now after 3 years as businessman, it feels korny na and unproductive. ang uso ngayon is mobile calls and mobile net surfing being cheaper and affordable than it was 3 years ago. so for me, okay lang to suspend unlitexts, WAG LANG UNLICALLS. =)

  14. boytutong says:

    no,it help us to utilize telco services. registration of prepaid sim is the answer.. maybe…

  15. superdan says:

    i think sms spamming should be stopped or at the very least controlled. i think telcos should enforce a stricter policy.. i think in general din naman kasi ang mga pinoy e sanay sa leniency regarding rules and authority. hmmmm. although i do agree with the idea of prepaid registration, i think some will stay play deaf and dumb. hindi man natin aminin, marami sa kababayan natin ang pahirapan pasunurin sa mga rules and yung iba din sa atin mas gustong humanap ng butas kaysa sumunod. and that’s a filipino trait i’m not proud of.

  16. Emo22 says:

    i agree with the suggestion to put a period quota sa text. Just like email. Prang 500 per 24 hours, or 10 recipients per text, something like that. Dapat tlga my restrction, pra hnde na aabuse. I remember my post highskul days, may nakaaway ako, inispam ako to death with vulgar words. And im so helpless.. Hehe

  17. Emo22 says:

    Just like what we do on hotmail.com ( im a tech support there).. We lift up the sending limits ng isang account depende sa tenureship nito. So mas marami masesend kun mas mtgal na un account. This wll prevnt people from buying new sim just for spam purposes

  18. Emo22 says:

    @ sir yuga

    Hope this thread will raise awareness for telcos.. Its an ongoing issue tlga, pero d ganu napapansin.

  19. deuts says:

    I agree, wag dapat putulin ang unlimited SMS. The telcos should just provide for a way for subscribers to report abusive cellphone numbers, AND THEY SHOULD ACTIVELY RESPOND TO THE REPORTS. That’s the only solution for these spam messages. Nabi-bwisit na nga ako eh.

    Para naman sa mga inocenteng pwede mabiktima ng mga report report na to, eh di lagyan ng limit. Let’s say if your number accumulates say 5 reports, then the telco’s should investigate first before actually blocking the said number. Basahin ang messages na sinend kung kinakailangan. Common sense lng naman kelangan mo para alamin kung spam ang sinesend ng isang number o hindi eh.

  20. Herce says:

    Why should stopping spam be an issue that makes the customer’s lives difficult?

    Both your solutions require sacrifice by the customers, this is counter intuitive for a consumer blog. One requires sacrificing privacy, the second requires consumers paying more.

    It should be up to the telco to control a spam problem. Spam devalues the telco’s serivce. It is then the telco’s job to stop it.

    This is extremely simple and should’ve been the first thing you suggest instead of more customer inconvenience. The software is already implemented to stop text spam as mandated by that anti-spam law passed last year. The only think that needs to be done is add political spam to the list of blocked spam. Customers can optin for political spam if they wish.

  21. Paulo Avila says:

    how about a free

    BLOCK SMS SENDER:

    TEXT BLOCK [SPACE] 09XX-XXXXXXX

    AND SEND TO XXXX

    will this solve your problems?

  22. moomeng says:

    simple lang naman tangalin ang unli text kapag buwan ng eleksyon un lang :)

  23. loadex says:

    To simply answer the question posted…. it’s a big NO!

  24. zaxx says:

    kayung matatanda, hindi na kayo naawa sa kabataan, tatanggalin nyo pa ang unli, eh yun na nga lang ang kasiyahan nila..wala ba kayong mga anak,pamangkin? alam nyo nmang limitado budget nila. he he

  25. rjca says:

    @jd.Obedoza

    I completely disagree with you anti unlimited texting stance. For millions of people texting is a way to keep in touch with their friends, families, and loved ones.

    How can you strip these people of their ability to communicate through text (at a reasonable rate) just because of these “scammers” and “spammers”?

  26. Victor says:

    REGISTRATION is the key. Nothing more.

  27. Jeric says:

    @Kaye my sentiments exactly. If spam is the only reason, i think there are some other ways to prevent it. I have sms spam manager for text spam. For unwanted calls, i have spam manager. Some people i know dont mind the spam. They just put their phones on silent mode when sleeping.

  28. roiji says:

    i say NO. but i do hope telcos implement something like spammer report even to prepaid subscribers…

    i don’t agree with capping the sending of SMS of 1 transmission per 10 seconds, because when your phone has ‘send to many’, it sends the message to at least 1 number per second…

    and 500 messages is not good if you have “clans” (a social sms network).

    and it would be foolish to call a 500-sms cap, unlimited.

  29. Gerry says:

    Just cap the number of unlimited text recipients to 20 numbers. This will make the cost of spamming much more expensive.

  30. Corsair says:

    No to unlimited text and yes to unlimited data/mobile Internet instead!

    The only spam you’ll get is the regular spam from emails (which should be minimal if you don’t give your email address to some suspect websites). So unless the politicos know you personally, they won’t be able to send you political spam!

    I still dream of the day when mobile email replaces SMS as our primary means of communicating wirelessly.

  31. Rom says:

    If I get spam sms, I simply just delete it. But in my case, I can’t report it to Smart since they’re the one spamming me with promo texts.

  32. manong says:

    NO! NO! NO! the problem i think is the super cheap sim cards, my suggestion is to raise the price to php 1K (put like 800% E-VAT) therefore limiting somewhat the spammers to a couple of sims (coz you can report them all the time but they’ll just buy another sim and spam away again)

    sim card should be considered as a high commodity like a php 3K celfone

    registration is worthless since you can always provide dummy information…

  33. Rosemary says:

    I’m okay with putting a limit of SMS one can send daily like the 500 texts per day.

    That is more than enough. I probably send about 400- 1,000 texts a month at most that’s why i signed up for Supertxt. Anyone who sends up to or more than 500 a day is most probably a spammer.

  34. SMS will always be there no matter what. Even its free or even it could be costly. My mom don’t even know how to use her mobile phone in calling but she can do SMS.lol

    Awful but true. Unlimited texting wont stop. Big time companies boast their promos in sms and it is their major marketing strategy to attract subscribers.

  35. Rony says:

    I agree with Manong. Raise the price of prepaid SIM cards. It’s almost shocking how you can buy a SIM for as low as 10 pesos today when it was 1,000 pesos when I bought my first ever Globe SIM in year 2000.

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