Vodafone trials anti-SMS spam technology

25 Aug 2003

Vodafone’s Irish operation has begun trialling a special anti-SMS spam technology amongst the company’s employees with a view to rolling out the service to the wider public later this year, siliconrepublic.com has learned.

When an unsolicited text message is received, the customer can forward it free of charge directly to a special easy-to-remember five-digit number, and the company proceeds to block incoming spam SMS messages from the same origination.

While a code has yet to be determined for Irish Vodafone customers, in the UK mobile customers can forward the offending spam to 87726 or ‘VSPAM’ on their mobile keypad. The new service replaces a traditional methodology that saw UK customers having to report an unsolicited text to the Independent Committee for the Supervision of Standards of Telephone Information Services (ICSTIS).

In the UK, the growth of SMS spam is quite significant, while in Ireland the phenomenon is still in its infancy. It is understood that SMS spam is in danger of growing in a similar manner to its email cousin, which is now said to account for over 50pc of all email in the world.

Vodafone Ireland spokesperson Tara Delaney told siliconrepublic.com: “SMS spam is not as big an issue in Ireland as it is in the UK, but we wouldn’t rule it out in the future. In Ireland, the Regulator of Premium Rate Telecommunications Services (RegTel) has some very good policies in place and we have historically worked very well with them on the subject.

“We are piloting a similar system used by Vodafone in the UK. At the moment we are piloting the system internally with staff. We are on the lookout for a nice short and easy to remember code for our customers in order to make the system easy to use,” Delaney said.

By John Kennedy