Mumbai: The government will refer the issue of recent tariff hike by mobile operators to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and would take a decision only after receiving the regulator's comments.
"Definitely tariff is in the control of the ministry. But let TRAI decide on it first," telecom minister A Raja said on the sideline of a function organised by the Telecom Equipment Manufacturers Association.
The GSM operators earlier this month hiked SMS charges by a flat 20 per cent to Rs1.20 per message and local call charges within their network by 20 per cent to Rs1.20 per minute from Re1 for prepaid customers.
Prior to that, a majority of private GSM players had hiked STD tariffs by over 10 per cent for prepaid users.
The regulator had earlier cited market forces behind the hike in SMS and local call charges by Airtel and Vodafone Essar.
"Mobile tariffs fall under forbearance (whereby the operators have freedom to fix tariffs). Although the recent hike in tariffs of SMS and local calls is not a consumer-friendly measure, there is no scope for intervention as long as there is forbearance," reports quoted TRAI chairman Nripendra Misra as saying.
Misra also said there has been no reference from DoT in the matter so far.