TRAI becomes stern – Orders mobile operators to declare all hidden charges

TRAI seems to be getting strict by the day, first it proposed to mandate the per second tariff option, now in a bid to bring more transparency in mobile tariffs, it intends to bring in a rule which will ask the operators to come clean on all hidden charges and other necessary details while announcing a new scheme/plan.

“There should not be any hidden charges and conditions when operators announce a tariff plan. Consumers should be able to understand the scheme being offered and operators should communicate their offers in an intelligible manner. We are planning to take up these issues in a holistic manner,” said Mr J. S. Sharma, Chairman, TRAI.

TRAI is also seeking additional data from operators who had recently announced tariff schemes to ensure that they offer what they promised. To further improve the quality of services, the regulator also proposes to come out with a report containing information on cell sites where call drops occur frequently.

Per second billing to be a mandatory option: TRAI

The news has been juggling for quite some time, but now it seems that the official word is out; TRAI today released a paper saying that telecom operators will have to provide an optional tariff of per second call tariff along with other packages and plans.

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TRAI’s per-second tariff – Good or Bad?

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Couple of days back TRAI chairman Mr. J S Sharma came up with a proposal to propel telecom operators towards a new tariff system based on per second usage. In India, telecom operators presently follow the pulse system wherein consumers are charged for a full minute of airtime even if the call is shorter. The per second tariff system was introduced by TATA DOCOMO when it hit the headlines few months back. Now, if this new tariff system is good or bad, the answer is obvious – good for the consumers, bad for the operators.

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TRAI contemplating to mandate pay per second billing

ITU Telecom conference revealed another thing in addition to the 3G auction delay. TRAI chairman, J S Sharma told that they are looking to make it mandatory for operators to follow pay per second billing method. Tata DoCoMo is one of the adopters of such method and TRAI is looking to float a consultation paper within 2 months regarding the same.

Looks like good (and cheaper) times are ahead for the consumers.

TRAI seeking tariff rates for MNP

Economic Times is reporting that TRAI will be seeking views from stakeholders and experts on the possible tariffs for the MNP service.

We will issue a consultation paper next week on the port and dipping charges of mobile number portability (MNP) service … We will have to see the service is affordable to customers.

Now that they “really” want the service to be affordable to us, we thought of asking the customers directly. So we want to know how much are you willing to pay for such a service. Select your option in the poll below. We really want to know what you think.

PS: If you’re wondering what MNP is all about, read over here.

TRAI rates Airtel as the most congested GSM network between Oct-Dec


 

This shouldn’t be surprising, right? In an analysis done by TRAI, Airtel has emerged as the most congested GSM network for the period of Oct-Dec. During this period, Airtel had 14 POIs (Point of Intersection) with congestion followed by Vodafone who had 12 and Reliance Communications and Idea with 11 each.

Note: POI signifies the ease with which a customer of one network is able to communicate with a customer of another network. This parameter also reflects as to how effective is the interconnection between two networks. TRAI has set a benchmark of less than 0.5 percent, which means out of 200 calls between two operators, there should be a single call facing a congestion problem.

50M BPL families might get free phones

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If the recent proposal from the Indian Cellular Association (ICA) to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is approved, 50M below the poverty line (BPL) families could receive a free phone along with a cellular connection.

The initiative put forth by the ICA which includes members like Nokia, Motorola, Sony Ericsson is pretty interesting with an aim to further penetrate rural areas as well as disseminate local information like weather, news etc. with the help of call centres in the regional languages. ICA plans to provide a basic phone with AM Radio functionality and a free calling package of up to 100 calls per month/family for a period of 2 years. The total estimated cost of this initiative is expected to be around Rs. 4000-5000 crores.

However, all this totally depends on TRAI’s approval and looking at their way of working this seems to be a tough ask.

Source

Mobile Number Portability – On its way

Yes, if reports are to be believed, MNP will make it to the market by mid-09. It is learnt that DoT has already started the process by allowing operators to bid for the same. Here are some dates that have been earmarked:

  • Feb 6th – last day for submission of bids
  • Feb 16th – List of qualified companies to be shared
  • March 5th – results declared
  • Mid 2009 – launch, only if the above two deadlines are  met

What was decided or heard about till now was that a user would have to pay a charge to change his/her operator, which could sum upto Rs.300 or more. However, the telecom regulators have taken the responsibility of fixing this charge and making it a standard in the sector, thus disallowing any kind of malpractice.

Results for TRAI’s Service Survey

If there is one thing that can gauge the performance of the operators’ service in the Telecom industry, it’s TRAI’s service survey. This survey is undertaken to understand operator performance on parameters like pre-sales and sales, network availability, value-added service (VAS), customer care and billing . The final score is a percentage with 90% being the cut-off set by the governing body. Here are how the results looked like: Continue Reading…

3G on TG: 3G Auction delayed again!

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With the 3G spectrum allocation being talked about in every business newspaper and the dates being changed every fortnight, we give you this update on what’s going on.

Dates: We brought you the official dates for the auction some weeks back. Till then the 16th of January was the day when the process was planned to begin. However, with the Cabinet and the Telecom authorities not coming to common terms, this date was shifted to the 30th of Jan. Things got worse, when the dates were further delayed, as the Cabinet was to view the suggestions put forth by the Dot not before mid-Jan. Also, the auction would not take place till all the ministries, the Cabinet and the telecom authorities come to a consensus. At present, the process is set to begin in mid-February. This too, seems to be a very optimistic date.

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