The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Wednesday floated a consultation paper on transparency in tariff offers by telecom operators.
The paper has been brought out amid complaints by individual consumers on lack of transparency in disclosure of tariff information.
“It is felt that a comprehensive review of extant provisions, aimed at transparency relating to flow of information from telecom service providers to consumers, is essential,” Trai said.
Accordingly, a consultation paper has been floated with the objective of empowering consumers by making all relevant information available to them, it added. The regulator has sought comments from stakeholders for prescribing the format for publishing tariff.
The other issues on which comments have been sought are whether telcos should be asked to disclose implications of discontinuation of tariff plan after expiry of the mandatory tariff protection period of six months. The tariff order requires service providers to ensure that the tariff is not changed adversely for a period of six months from the date of enrolment of a customer.
“If the tariff plan offers a free subscription of certain service for a period exceeding six months and the service provider proposes to change the tariff or discontinues the tariff plan after six months, the subscriber runs the risk of losing the remaining free subscription period if he does not agree to the revised tariff or exercise option to migrate to the plan offered,” Trai said.
There have been reports of telecom companies approaching the regulator to fix the floor price or minimum tariff to be offered by them.
At present, mobile tariffs are under forbearance, which means operators have a free hand in fixing rates. They have to only report tariff plans to TRAI within seven days of the launch.
In 2017, after the entry of Reliance Jio, existing telcos then had approached the regulator to consider setting up a floor price as it impacted their revenue.