Feeds

Orange SMS spam dragnet ensnares unwary

Mystery message blocking

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The essential guide to IT transformation

Orange is blocking text messages sent through a UK premium service, citing "security issues". But the British SMS provider appears to have fallen foul of Orange's new allegedly anti-spam policy of charging foreign networks for sending bulk messages.

Register readers using a premium SMS service provided by Deltica.com have been charged for messages that were never received because it resells Swisscom SMS capacity, which offered the cheapest service in Europe, and is one of the blocked providers.

Orange told aggrieved Deltica.com punters that was "deleting text messages that are sent from certain companies and countries" because of "security issues", and that it has notified the affect companies.

It referred customers back to Deltica.com, but the firm isn't responding to queries from us, nor its customers. We've been contacted by two Deltica.com users on the issue who decided to use the service because they found the (free, up to a point) process of sending messages through Orange's Web site "slow and long winded".

Neither customer is a SMS spammer (bills sent to us suggest) and Orange's stance seems to be driven primarily by commercial considerations.

Simon Rockman, publisher of What Mobile, explained: "I don't think they are so much blocking spam, more blocking interconnect when they don't get a revenue share (which often amounts to the same thing as spammers don't like to pay). But if a spammer was prepared to pay I'm sure Orange would carry it. Indeed Orange business services has a tariff for such things."

The Orange policy of blocking SMS messages from certain foreign networks was introduced in December but not publicly announced at the time. We understand that MTN network in South Africa, the Swisscom network in Switzerland, and the Telstra and Vodafone networks in Australia are among those targeted, along with SMS messages sent via ICQ. Most overseas providers aren't affected.

After repeated calls, Orange at last provided us with a "re-active statement" on the issue.

"Orange has decided to take this step to protect its own customers from 'spamming' through overseas carriers. This will also enable Orange to better
manage its network traffic, and ensure it gains revenue for the service it provides by carrying these messages," it said.

"We intend to reach a standard agreement for this service as formulated by the GSM Association. Commercial terms will be agreed bilaterally."

Orange's policy is reasonable enough but is has been less than open about its implementation. This has been conducted in a manner which, our enquiries suggest, is pulling ethical users into an 'anti-spam Dragnet'. ®

Related stories

Orange users angry at spam voicemail
Orange kills Locust
Freeserve deal lets SMS Genie out of the bottle
Europe holds key vote on spam tomorrow
Admen prepare to blitz cellphones
AOL makes arms-length messaging concession

External links

Usenet discussions on the subject: here and
here

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Banking apps: Handy, can grab all your money... and RIDDLED with coding flaws
Yep, that one place you'd hoped you wouldn't find 'em
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Primetime precrime? Minority Report TV series 'being developed'
I have to know. I have to find out what happened to my life
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.