Indian telecom services have been offering a weird service of a 28-day validity pack. Thus, a customer has no other option left but to charge their mobiles 13 times in a year. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) however, has been asking to fix the issues with plans and their validity. Despite this, the telecom services seemed reluctant to make any required change. Now, TRAI has issued guidelines for telcos on vouchers and the validity of plans.
TRAI hammers telecom hegemony
As per the reports, the telecom regulator TRAI has issued new guidelines directing telecom companies to offer at least one plan voucher, one special tariff voucher and one combo voucher having a validity of 30 days.
TRAI, in a statement, said, “Every Telecom Service Provider will offer at least one plan voucher, one special tariff voucher and one combo voucher having a validity of thirty days.”
The telecom regulator said it had received complaints from consumers expressing concerns regarding the tariff offers of 28 days’ validity (or in multiples thereof) by Telecom Service Providers.
TRAI has reported that “With the enactment of the amendment, telecom consumers will have more options to choose service offerings of appropriate validity and duration. This would also facilitate consumers in making a more informed tariff-related choice.”
In addition to that, telecom companies have been mandated to enact as per the order within 60 days from the day of notification of the rules.
Why TRAI has to step in with guidelines?
Earlier in mid-2021, TRAI had said “It was awash with complaints from countless mobile users that they felt cheated as they were being made to do 13 recharges in a year for monthly plans.”
However, Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea had requested the telecom regulator not to intervene in fixing prepaid tariff as it could disrupt and destabilise mobile tariff structures, hurting consumers.
JIO, nevertheless, had suggested that “TRAI issue an advisory calling on telcos to offer at least one prepaid plan voucher (PV), special tariff voucher (STV) and combo voucher (CV) with 30-day validity to address consumer complaints around the 28-day packs.”
Leading mobile consumer association, Consumer Voice, though, also advised that Trai “standardise all tariff validity spans to either “1 day / 7 days / 15 days and 1-month variants,” and make all other validity periods in the market, invalid. A one-month validity should mean renewal due on the same date of the following month.”
Thus, it was necessary to consider the suggestions of these associations and telecom service providers as the customers were repeatedly complaining about the peculiar validity plans. However, now with the amendment made by TRAI, the consumers will recharge their mobiles 12 times a year.