New Delhi: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has said that mobile operators may be pushing consumers to renounce fixed line connections by adopting a policy of charging a higher tariff for cell-to-fixed line calls.
It has asked operators to stop the differential tariff as, according to TRAI officials, the differential and higher charges levied by mobile operators for calls to fixed lines do not have an adequate justification.
TRAI officials say that this can be viewed as an attempt to promote "substitution of fixed line traffic by mobile traffic", which in turn could result in forced substitution of fixed lines by mobiles. That, they say, would reduce the target market for fixed line broadband.
TRAI said that despite reduction in the access deficit charge (ADC), operators have not passed on the benefits to consumers.
The ADC is a levy that operators have to pay to support rural telephony in the country.
In a related development, the TRAI also issued a Tariff Amendment Order mandating telecom access service providers to provide hard copy (print out) of the bill, free of cost to their post-paid subscribers. The order is applicable across all types of tariff plans of mobile (both GSM and CDMA) and fixed line services in respect of post paid subscribers.
Itemised bills for long distance calls will continue to be supplied free of cost by the access service providers, while itemised bill for local call remains under forbearance.
The order came in to effect from 24 January, 2008.
According to a release, the provision of a hard copy of the bill would enable customers to understand and satisfy themselves about the genuineness of the bill, facilitate making payments, verify the charges incurred by the consumer and monitor usage or expenditure by consumers, which would not be possible if the bill is sent through SMS and e-mails.
TRAI also observed that most of the consumers who own a phone may not necessarily have access to a computer or the internet to obtain bill through e-mail. TRAI observed that service providers in other sectors such as electricity, water utility services, and financial institutions do not charge for providing the hard copy of the bill.