Telecom watchdog allows full talk time on recharges

September 1st, 2008 - 8:20 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 1 (IANS) Mobile phone subscribers will get full talk time on recharges following a new a tariff order and a directive issued Monday by India’s telecom watchdog TRAI. “Customers can now get full talk time on talk time recharges, barring an administrative fee, which shall not exceed Rs.2 per recharge and applicable taxes,” TRAI or the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India said in a statement.

The new measures will become effective Sep 15 and will be applicable for all pre-paid subscribers, new and existing.

Subscribers will also automatically benefit from tariff reductions without having to send short message service (SMS) to the operator for activating the service, TRAI said.

The regulator said it was brought to its notice that telecom operators are deducting a fixed amount even for recharges exclusively meant for providing talk time to subscribers who already have validity.

Such subscribers had already obtained validity by paying a fixed fee. The authority felt that levy of a second processing fee when the customer buys talk time through exclusive top-ups is unjustified.

The telecom watchdog said customers in existing lifetime plans can migrate to new lifetime plans with lower entry fee and without having to make an additional payment or recharge, and they may not recharge more than once in six months to stay connected.

The mobile number will not change if a customer changes tariff plans or moves from prepaid to postpaid or vice versa, TRAI said.

The regulator said blackout days - festival days when free or concessional calls or SMS are not available - should be limited to a maximum of five days in a calendar year.

Also, such days should be pre-specified and no subsequent alteration or addition will be permitted.

The customers will now get key tariff information in vernacular language also at all the retail outlets of the service providers and their franchisees, TRAI said.

The operators also need to streamline promotional offers, TRAI said.

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