Telecom tribunal TDSAT has given a split verdict on the plea against a TRAI direction asking companies to give ISD service in pre-paid numbers only after taking explicit consent from users to avail this facility.
Trai had issued this directive following complaints from consumers about missed calls from international telephone numbers that charge high tariff when subscribers call back.
Various telecom operators, including the GSM body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), had approached the TDSAT against the TRAI direction. "The Respondent (TRAI) even did not hold any consultation with regard to the question as to whether the prepaid customers and postpaid customers should be brought at par.
In absence of such a question having been raised in the consultative process, it is difficult to hold that the 2006 Regulations would cover a situation of the present nature," TDSAT Chairman Justice S B Sinha said in the order. P K Rastogi, member of TDSAT bench that heard operators plea, however, differed. "I have a different view point. Since there was no sufficient time for writing the judgement, I will be pronouncing the same separately later," a short-order by Rastogi uploaded on TDSAT website said. In a direction on September 7 this year, Trai had asked all operators to inform pre-paid customers within 10 days by sending SMS that their ISD calling facility would be disconnected after two months and it could be continued only after they their consent only. Later on September 19, passing an interim direction in this matter, the tribunal had asked Trai not to take any coercive action against the operators.