Acting on consumer complaints, telecom regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has directed all mobile phone service providers to mention in advertisements the cities and states in which third-generation (3G) service is available.
The regulator sent a note to this effect to operators providing 3G services on Thursday and said the notification comes into effect immediately, TRAI chairman J S Sarma, was quoted in the media.
TRAI has resorted to this step after users started complaining about the irregular and poor quality 3G services.
Abroad, telecom companies budget an average of $100 million on advertising, specially on 3G availability, according to independent studies, even though the advertisements do not specify the coverage and availability of the services.
Of the total 500 million active mobile phone users in India, about six million users have subscribed for 3G services, with an average customer paying the equivalent of $12-15 per month for the usage of 3G.
According to a study by Voice&Data, which analysed data released by TRAI data on subscriber numbers, the number of real, active mobile users in India has crossed 500 million, which is much lower than the 800 million number of those wth a mobile connection.
TRAI pegs the mobile subscriber base at 791 million (826 million including landlines), as on April 2011.