Monday, December 04, 2006

TRC Imposes Maximum Limit on SMS Charges

Now that Sirasa Super Star Season Two has commenced, the TRC has decreed the maximum price per SMS is to be no more than SLR 5.00 - this is a 50% reduction from the previous amount charged during Season 1.

Rohan Samarajiva (LBO) shares his thoughts on the new SMS charges:

"The SMSes used in voting for the Super Stars in the inaugural season cost LKR 10; many irisiyakarayas (those jealous of the success of another, commemorated memorably on the backs of three wheelers) objected to the "high price" of these SMSes, among other things; the JVP actually put up posters on the streets asking people to boycott Sirasa.

They no longer enforce their boycotts with guns or by chopping off fingers, luckily.

The people ignored them and watched Super Star like it was religion. It appears that the TRC is pandering the irisiyakarayas and kowtowing to the JVP.

In playing these cheap political games, the TRC is doing serious damage to the emergence of innovative InfoServices in Sri Lanka. This is not what one expects from the independent regulatory agency in charge of the most dynamic sector of the economy.

Given that its Chairman is the current prime mover behind e-Sri Lanka and it comes under the President who has taken a personal interest in e Sri Lanka, this retrograde behavior is somewhat surprising.

This silly decision was driven by ignorance and desire for cheap approbation, not vindictiveness or jealousy, one hopes. It will be reversed by sane counsel and sober reflection, one believes." Link

Well, Rohan - let's not get carried away here. SSS is not a game show that offers rewards for the voters - it's a contest conducted via viewer votes. The organisers of the program should finance its operations through lucrative sponsorship deals and not by charging the viewers. Since SSS has taken so much from American Idol, why not follow its principle of charging "standard text messaging rates" as well?

Game shows (as the current programs on Derana) are a different scenario, as are e-services. Both categories are entitled to make a profit and the TRC may have hindered the progress of such businesses by imposing a limit on the maximum amount that could be charged on a text message. A revision of the maximum SMS charge may be inevitable in the future.

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