SMSes sent through the comment alert protocol at the time of a disaster will not attract the termination charge of 2 paise under the Disaster Management Act, telecom regulator TRAI said on Tuesday.

The SMS sent during disaster and non-disaster situations but without any direction under the Disaster Management Act, however, through the common alert protocol (CAP) will be charged 2 paise termination charge by the telecom operators on whose network it is sent.

However, there will be no termination on sending messages through the cell broadcast system (CBS) which can send out messages to all devices connected to the selected mobile tower, according to the 69th amendment in the Telecom Tariff Order of 2022 issued by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

"Considering the significance of alerts or messages sent as per direction issued under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 ...the Authority has decided that no charges shall be levied for such SMS/Cell Broadcast Alerts or messages sent either during a disaster or prior to notification of disaster or after the expiry of disaster," TRAI said.


State-run telecom research organisation C-DoT has developed CAP through which local areas can be marked on a map in order to send out alerts. In the first phase of CAP, C-DoT has integrated radio station, DTH player and railway station for sending out alerts. In the second phase, C-DOT will scale it up to cover all radio, TV, railway station, etc for sending out warning alerts.

TRAI has prescribed 2 paise termination on SMS that are sent through CAP in both disaster and non-disaster situations, which may not be as per the direction of DM Act 2005.

"The Authority decided to prescribe a tariff of two paisa only for SMS alerts or messages sent during disaster and non-disaster situations, other than those sent as per directions issued under the Disaster Management Act 2005..." TRAI said.