The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cell operators to report tariff change in advance

New Delhi, Sept. 6: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) today asked cellular mobile operators to report any change in tariff 10 days in advance and said every player has to specify a reference tariff package including monthly rental and airtime.

It added that if a cellular operator provides any other service such as basic fixed line, national long distance or international long distance in the same service area where it provides cellular mobile services, it shall have to seek Trai’s approval for any new tariff and/or any changes therein, at least five working days before its implementation.

Notifying a new tariff regulatory regime for cellular mobile services here today, Trai said at least one denomination of pre-paid cards offered by every service provider must be for an amount of Rs 300 or less with a corresponding validity period of at least one month.

In the case of each pre-paid card package, the customer should be prominently and clearly informed of the total amount that is available in the pre-paid card package for making calls, to pay towards usage.

All initial reference tariff packages (RTF) of the service providers will have to be referred to the authority by September 19, 2002. The approved reference tariff package of the service provider shall be implemented from October 1, 2002.

In future, the RTF shall always be available to the customer together with any other tariff offers. The service provider shall give wide publicity to its RTF, the regulator said.

The authority shall continue to monitor the tariffs in the market, and if required, shall reintroduce standard tariff package(s) for one or more licensed service areas as may be deemed necessary.

From time to time, Trai will make public a comprehensive list of the (RTFs) of all cellular mobile service operators in the country through its website and through consumer organisations registered with it to keep the public informed of all RTFs on offer.

In addition, Trai will continue to monitor the tariffs both with respect to predatory tariffs as well as unduly high tariffs because operators with dominant market presence and operations in more than one service sector will always have the capacity to do so. In addition to monitoring the tariffs, Trai will review its present policy after six months.

The new tariff regulatory regime was welcomed by cellular operators today, who, however, said the regulator should also recommend means of reducing the cost structure of operators by a review of government levies.

“The regime is fine and it is a welcome step. But it should be followed through watching out for predatory pricing by operators with control over bottleneck interconnect facilities,” T. V. Ramachandran, director general of the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said.

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