3. SMS and 090x numbers

I regularly receive SMS messages which contain advertising. What's going on?

These are so-called "spamming SMS messages". Spamming is the unsolicited dissemination of mass advertising via telecommunications. The SMS messages may be sent via the internet, for example. These are routed to the SMS centre of the telecommunication services provider concerned and finally forwarded to the subscriber's mobile telephone. This type of advertising, which is cost-effective for the sender, is predominantly perceived as unwelcome.

A large proportion of the advertising messages ask the recipient to call a premium-rate 090x number. This type of advertising message must be distinguished from so-called SMS-push services (see below).

Is spamming allowed at all and what can I do to stop receiving these messages in the future?

Information on spamming can be found under the following link:

How can I get in contact with the sender of the SMS messages with short numbers?

Operators who allocate short numbers to their clients for SMS/MMS services publish a list of the holders of these numbers on their website.

Often these promotional SMS messages encourage the recipient to call value-added 090x service numbers. The names and addresses of the holders of numbers (0800, 084x, 090x) are available on the internet:

How does the sender get my telephone number in the first place?

Sometimes senders get telephone numbers from directories, if the numbers are published in them. Since mobile owners who have not published their number also receive such SMS messages, it must be assumed that these messages are sent systematically via the internet to entire blocks of numbers.

May the content also violate the applicable law?

As far as the content of SMS messages are concerned, the question cannot be answered in general. It would depend on the individual case. Any violation of civil law, criminal law or fair trading laws must be assessed in each case by the civil or criminal prosecuting authorities.

What is an SMS-push service?

An SMS-push service is a mobile telephony service which, once the service is activated by the owner of the mobile telephone, provides chargeable information on the requested topic in the form of SMS messages. Examples include news services, weather information, stock market news, etc.

The identification numbers (e.g. 888) are not allocated by OFCOM. Queries and complaints regarding these numbers must therefore be made directly to the telecommunication services providers concerned.

Specialist staff
Last modification 14.12.2017

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