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New Delhi, Dec 1 (PTI) Aiming to give a major relief to mobile users from unsolicited calls/SMSes, telecom regulator TRAI today imposed a hefty penalty of up to Rs 2.50 lakh on erring telemarketing companies which also face the prospect of getting blacklisted.

The new guidelines would come into effect from January 1, next year.

To help unregistered subscribers identify commercial calls, telemarketers will be issued a different set of numbers starting with ''70''.

The regulations also mandate that no commercial communication, even for unregistered customers, shall be sent between 9.00 pm and 9.00 am, so that customers are not disturbed at night.

Unlike the previous regulations which provided only for a ''Do Not Call Registry'', the regulations issued today provide a wider choice to customers.

The subscriber may choose to be under the ''Fully Blocked'' category which is akin to the ''Do Not Call Registry''. The user can also choose the ''Partially Blocked'' category, in which case he will receive SMSes in the categories chosen by him.

Trai has identified seven categories-- banking, and financial products, real estate, education, health, consumer goods, automobiles, communication and entertainment, tourism and leisure.

In case of violations, as per the revised guidelines, the telemarketers would have to pay a fine of Rs 25,000 for the first offence which would go up to Rs 75,000 in case of a second violation, Rs 80,000 for the third, Rs 1.25 lakh for the fourth, Rs 1.50 lakh for the fifth and Rs 2.5 lakh for the sixth offence, following which the number will be blocked by all service providers.