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Showcause notice to telecom trio

New Delhi, Nov. 21: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) today shot off letters to all the telecom mobile operators, including Reliance Infocomm, Bharti and Hutch, for not informing their customers of the tariff plans according to the format prescribed by it.

A showcause notice, sent to all the three operators, states, “as to why action should not be taken as per the prescribed rules set by the regulator for informing the customers about the tariff plans.”

According to the Trai Act, 1997 and Telecommunications Tariff Order, 1999, every service provider is supposed to publish all tariffs applicable in respect of telecommunication services and ensure the availability of such publication to its subscribers in advance of the applicability of such tariffs.

The operators are supposed to publish separate publications in respect of each type of service.

The directives to the operator also stipulate that the publication of tariffs in respect of each type of service shall be in such a manner that it contains all relevant information pertaining to it without necessity of recourse to any cross reference to any other publication, except that any alteration in any published tariff shall be published as an amendment of the earlier published tariff for the service concerned.

All tariffs, including any changes made therein after the first publication under the TTO 1999 shall be consolidated and published in the months of March and September each year.

“None of these have been followed by the operators. In addition the regulator had also directed them last year to publish the tariff plans on hoarding but no action has been taken so far by them,” said a senior official in Trai.

The customers have a right to know about the charges like registration and installation, security deposit, rentals, tariff for local, domestic and international long distance calls, special services, rebates and discounts. Other things they need to know are, timings of peak and off-peak hours and tariffs applicable thereto, billing cycles, mode of payment, and consequences of delayed payment and non –payment.

The choice of tariff packages available to a subscriber along with the details of the procedure prescribed for exercising the choice should also be made available to the customers.

The alternative packages, if any, available to the subscriber and the manner in which they differ from the standard packages, including comparison of its financial implications, must be published to enable the subscriber to make an informed choice.

The standard package has to be provided in a distinctive colour while alternative packages shall be provided in any other colour.

The publication of tariffs has to be done in a paper of minimum size A4 and with a minimum font size of 8 and shall be in at least two languages, one of which shall be the regional language.The regulator had also allowed them to charge a maximum of Rs 5 as price for the tariff publication.

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