UK mobile operators join forces to combat text spam

Mobile phone users can report spam messages by forwarding them to a central service free of charge

U.K. mobile network operators EE, O2, Three and Vodafone have teamed up with the U.K. Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) to try to stop and punish companies that are sending spam text messages.

The falling cost of sending bulk SMS messages is helping criminals to take advantage of consumers' trust of a highly personal medium, according to industry organization GSMA (GSM Association).

The operators are keen to keep text message inboxes free from spam.

"We want our customers to enjoy their mobiles, and spam is a barrier for them to do that. So if we can do something about it, we are keen to," said Guy Middleton, head of corporate communications at Three.

U.K. mobile phone users can report spam messages by forwarding them to "7726" or "SPAM" free of charge using GSMA's Spam Reporting Service. The messages are aggregated and analyzed, providing operators with important details about the origin and size of the attack. Operators can then share the data in real-time to ensure they can all block and cut off spammers.

The ICO's role is to mete out fines if spammers are violating local Privacy of Electronic Communication Regulations, which companies that send direct marketing electronically in the U.K. must comply with. Companies are not allowed to send marketing messages without asking for consent. They are also not allowed to conceal their identities, according to ICO's web site.

As a next step, EE, O2, Three, Vodafone and the ICO are investigating ways to extend the Spam Reporting Service to address nuisance calls, as well.

The Spam Reporting Service is operated on behalf of the GSMA by Cloudmark, a company that specializes in messaging security software. The service was originally launched in February 2011, following a pilot that AT&T, KT, SFR, Sprint, and Vodafone took part in.

The service works as a global clearinghouse of messaging spam reports submitted by mobile phone users. By combining different kinds of data, it gives operators the ability to understand the amount of spam entering and leaving their networks, as well as the amount of spam within their networks, according to GSMA's website.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags smartphonesconsumer electronicsantispamthreeo2GSM AssociationVodafone GroupEE

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Mikael Ricknäs

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?