The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) wants telecom service providers to provide detailed information relating to usage of data to subscribers of data connection other than data packs.
In the draft 'Telecom Consumers Protection (Eighth Amendment) Regulations, 2015' released today, the regulator has proposed to mandate service providers to provide information to mobile users, through SMS or USSD, about the quantum of data used and the tariff thereof, after every 5,000 kilobytes of data usage.
Trai said it has been receiving several complaints from consumers regarding non-availability of information relating to the amount of data used during a data session. The service providers offer concessional tariff for data, up to a certain limit, through 'Special Tariff Vouchers' or 'Combo Vouchers' (data packs) and also through certain tariff plans.
As generally, the tariff for any usage beyond the specified limit is substantially higher, in case the customer does not know about reaching the limit for concessional tariff, it results in substantial charges levied, leading to sudden bill shock or unexpected deduction of balance amount.
Consumers have also voiced concern about activation of internet service on mobile phones without their consent and knowledge leading to sudden deduction of charges for data usage.
Trai said it has examined these complaints and has felt that measures need to be taken for addressing these genuine concerns of customers.
TRAI now proposes to amend the Telecom Consumers Protection Regulations, 2012, to provide for the following, so as to protect the interest of mobile consumers:
- Information to consumers relating to usage of data and charges on it, through SMS or USSD, to mobile users, who have subscribed to data connection other than through data packs, thereof after every 5000 kilobytes of data usage;
- Alert mobile subscriber through SMS or USSD whenever the limit of data usage reaches 50 per cent, 90 per cent and 100 per cent of data limit as also when the usage reaches 90 percent of the limit, information about the applicable tariff beyond the data limit;
- Activation or deactivation of data services should be only with the explicit consent of the subscriber through toll free short code 1925, following the prescribed procedures for obtaining explicit consent of the consumer and for deactivation data. Further, the customers should also be informed through SMS at periodic interval, not exceeding six months, about the prescribed procedure for deactivation of data.
Trai has posted the draft `Telecom Consumers Protection (Eighth Amendment) Regulations, 2015' on its web site and the regulator has asked stakeholders to submit comments by 12 May 2015 at e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.