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India - Premium SMS Regulations


The regulations in India caters and covers all of the Mobile Payment types, that includes Premium SMS BillingStandard Rate ServicesShort Codes, WAP Billing and Operator Billing.



Capture.PNGTelecom Regulatory Authority of India

The entry of private service providers brought with it the inevitable need for independent regulation. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) was, thus, established with effect from 20th February 1997 by an Act of Parliament, called the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997, to regulate telecom services, including fixation/revision of tariffs for telecom services which were earlier vested in the Central Government.

TRAI's mission is to create and nurture conditions for growth of telecommunications in the country in a manner and at a pace which will enable India to play a leading role in emerging global information society.  

One of the main objectives of TRAI is to provide a fair and transparent policy environment which promotes a level playing field and facilitates fair competition. 




airtel-new-logo.jpgBharti Airtel

Bharti Airtel Limited, commonly known as Airtel, is an Indian multinational telecommunications services company headquartered in New Delhi, India. It operates in 20 countries across South Asia, Africa, and the Channel Islands. Airtel has a GSM network in all countries in which it operates, providing 2G, 3G and 4G services depending upon the country of operation. Airtel is the world's second largest mobile telecommunications company by subscribers, with over 275 million subscribers across 20 countries as of July 2013.It is the largest cellular service provider in India, with 192.22 million subscribers as of August 2013. Airtel is the Second largest in-country mobile operator by subscriber base, behind China Mobile.



Vodafone India Limited, formerly Vodafone Essar Limited, is the second largest mobile network operator in India after Airtel by subscriber base. It is based in Mumbai, Maharashtra. It has approximately 160 million customers as of December 2013. In July 2011, Vodafone Group agreed terms for the buy-out of its partner Essar from its Indian mobile phone business. The UK firm paid $5.46 billion to its Indian counterpart to take Essar out of its 33% stake in the Indian subsidiary. It will leave Vodafone owning 74% of the Indian business, while the other 26% will be owned by Indian investors, in compliance with Indian law.


reliance.jpeg Reliance Communications

Reliance Communications Ltd. (commonly called RCOM) is an Indian Internet access (commonly called "broadband") and telecommunications company headquartered in Navi Mumbai, India. RCOM is India's second largest telecom operator, only after Bharti Airtel. It is the 15th largest mobile phone operator with over 150 million subscribers. Established in 2004, it is a subsidiary of the Reliance Group. 



Market Statistics


India has a huge national telecommunications network. With fixed-line penetration falling below 3%, the country has nevertheless achieved a remarkable coverage, 99% of the population having some form of access to a telephone. Despite the heavy investment in telecoms infrastructure over the last decade, servicing the huge population has presented major difficulties. Even the booming mobile phone market had around 76% penetration by early 2013. As well as its huge national network, India’s investment in telecommunications infrastructure over the last decade has extended to a heavy involvement in the international market. Under the leadership of international operator VSNL/Tata Indicom the country has been assembling an extensive infrastructure of gateways, satellite earth stations and fibre optic submarine cables.



Area: Total: 3,287,263 sq km Land: 2,973,193 sq km Water: 314,070 sq km
Cities: Mumbai 12,478,447, Delhi 11,007,835, Bangalore 8,425,970, Hyderabad 6,809,970, Chennai 4,681,087, Kolkata 4,486,679, Jaipur 3,073,350
Terrain: Upland plain (Deccan Plateau) in south, flat to rolling plain along the Ganges, deserts in west, Himalayas in north
Climate: Varies from tropical monsoon in south to temperate in north


Nationality: Noun:Indian(s), Adjective: Indian
Population: 1,220,800,359 (July 2013 est.)
Annual population growth rate: 1.28% (2013 est.)
Language: Hindi 41%, Bengali 8.1%, Telugu 7.2%, Marathi 7%, Tamil 5.9%, Urdu 5%, Gujarati 4.5%, Kannada 3.7%, Malayalam 3.2%, Oriya 3.2%, Punjabi 2.8%, Assamese 1.3%, Maithili 1.2%, other 5.9%
Flag: 225px-Flag_of_India.svg.png


Type: Federal republic
Independence: 15 August 1947 (from the UK)
Constitution: Previous 1935 (preindependence); latest draft completed 4 November 1949, adopted 26 November 1949, effective 26 January 1950; amended many times, last in 2013 (2013)
Branches: chief of state: President Pranab MUKHERJEE (since 22 July 2012); Vice President Mohammad Hamid ANSARI (since 11 August 2007)
Political parties: Aam Aadmi Party or AAP [Arvind KEJRIWAL], All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam or AIADMK [J. JAYALALITHAA], All India Trinamool Congress or TMC [Mamata BANERJEE], Bahujan Samaj Party or BSP [MAYAWATI], Bharatiya Janata Party or BJP [Rajnath SINGH], Biju Janata Dal or BJD [Naveen PATNAIK], Communist Party of India or CPI [Suravaram Sudhakar REDDY, Secretary-General], Communist Party of India-Marxist or CPI(M) [Prakash KARAT], Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam or DMK [M.KARUNANIDHI], Indian National Congress or INC [Sonia GANDHI], Janata Dal (United) or JD(U) [Sharad YADAV], Nationalist Congress Party or NCP [Sharad PAWAR], Rashtriya Janata Dal or RJD [Lalu Prasad YADAV], Rashtriya Lok Dal or RLD [Ajit SINGH], Samajwadi Party or SP [Mulayam Singh YADAV], Shiromani Akali Dal or SAD [Parkash Singh BADAL], Shiv Sena or SS [Uddhav THACKERAY], Telugu Desam Party or TDP [Chandrababu NAIDU], Note: India has dozens of national and regional political parties
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Nominal GDP: $1.758 trillion (2013 est.)
GDP per capita: $4,000 (2013 est.)
Annual GDP growth rate: 3.8% (2013 est.)
Agriculture: Rice, wheat, oilseed, cotton, jute, tea, sugarcane, lentils, onions, potatoes; dairy products, sheep, goats, poultry; fish
Industry: Textiles, chemicals, food processing, steel, transportation equipment, cement, mining, petroleum, machinery, software, pharmaceuticals
Trade: Import - China 10.7%, UAE 7.8%, Saudi Arabia 6.8%, Switzerland 6.2%, US 5.1% (2012)



Market Growth

General region↓ Total number of Internet users (thousands)↓   Total population (thousands)↓ GDP per capita↓ GDP total (thousands)↓   Total number of mobile subscribers (thousands)↓
South Asia  137,000,000   1,220,800,359  $4,000 $1.758 trillion    62,713,680 
[source] [source]   [source] [source] [source]   [source]



The Indian Rupee (sign:₹; code: INR) is the currency of India. 

1000 INR in £GBP

1000 INR in $USD

1000 INR in €EUR


Approval Process

As part of the application process for a short code, you will need to complete a txtNation Customer Care Form (CCF).


Promotional Guidelines

Q: How should I promote my services in India?

A: India Regulations

For the rules and regulations for Premium SMS services in India, there is no such defined rule book by any Telco or Regulator, but the below are the main points which need to be followed:

  • Client need to deliver the content to the End User without fail.
  • Client need to adhere to the price points defined versus each content type assigned to that.
  • Client shouldn't send any adult or pornographic content in India, only form allowed is Bikini.
  • Client must submit the service flow of every campaign for approval. The message flow submitted must match exactly, so can be provided to the carriers in case of an audit.
  • Client confirm the content type that they are going to push and the same need to maintain on that defined price point.


Messages Flow Requirements

There are currently no written regulations at the time of writing for India. Your CCF will still be evaluated to ensure your service is delivering value for money and is honest and fair.


Service Types

Most service types are allowed, however some require specific approval from the regulators. Adult is allowed in the form of Bikini. Local support is a requirement. You can run your service with a online ticketing system. txtNation can help you in setting this up if needed. 

You are not able to run any services that contains offensive, unsuitable and unlawful content, in particular:

(a) unsuitable for minors

(b) incites crime

(c) describes unlawful sexual activity

(d) promotes violence

(e) causes alarm

(f) breaches a law

(g) breaches a code of practice


Billing Types

We operate Double Charge (DC) billed lines in India. See forum entry "What are the SMS billing types available?" for more information on these billing types.


Shortcodes and Keywords

On our dedicated code in India, we operate on a 5 digit short code.



The current India rate of tax is available via Wikipedia. The out-payments on our rate cards are exclusive of VAT, so if you are VAT registered you can claim a higher outpayment than is shown.


 Dedicated Codes 

Dedicated codes are available with a 10 -12 week lead time depending on carrier availability, the carriers approve based on their backlog, the time of year, price point and service type. You can read more about Short Code Coverage, SMS Billing Services and Mobile Payments in India via the txtNation Gateway.


 India has the following Mobile Payment options available, all of which fall under these regulations:

  • Premium SMS (P-SMS) including Short Code services 

 Additional options for Mobile Payments and Messaging in India include:

  • HLR Lookup
  • Bulk SMS

 Note: This page is updated as frequently as possible when we are informed from the regulators or mobile operators in India of a change or update in regulations. There may be a latest version of Premium SMS, Mobile Payments or Short Code Regulations in India. Please contact your account manager for more information.

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