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Thursday, September 24, 2020

TRAI's new direction on tariff publication : Essential disclosures for tariff plans and offers to be published by telecom operators

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued new direction dated 18th September 2020, on tariff publication by telecom service providers in India. As per the latest information, TRAI has instructed all the telecom service providers for service area wise publication of essential disclosure of tariff plans.

TRAI's new direction on tariff publication : Essential disclosures for tariff plans and offers should be published by telecom operators

Each telecom operator has to publish detailed information about all existing prepaid and postpaid tariff plans, special tariff vouchers, combo vouchers, add-on plans etc. on their customer care centers, website, mobile app and other retail outlets. Now, operators need to publish all terms and conditions of a particular tariff plan / STV / Combo Voucher so that a customer may understand all important information like volume of calls, data and SMS, rates for the same, limit of usage and speed beyond the entitled use etc.
Considering the changes in the nature and composition of tariff offers, over a period of time, thereby leading to a possibility that consumers may be facing situation of lack of information, misleading information, unclear or hard to find information and information difficult to assess and compare in the marketplace affecting their ability to make informed choice, the authority issued a consultation paper on "Transparency in publishing of tariff offers" on 27th November 2019. 

In this consultation paper, stakeholders are requested to give valuable suggestions and comments which may enhance transparency in tariff offers and facilitate subscribers to make informed choice of tariffs. Now based on the comments received from stakeholders, TRAI has arrived at a conclusion that the existing regulatory measures relating to publication of tariff plans need to be revised. Revised TRAI guidelines on publication of tariff offers by telecom service providers are : -


A) Essential disclosures for tariff plans
Publish service area wise tariff plans for postpaid subscribers and prepaid subscribers, as applicable, and shall make available such tariff plan to the subscribers at Customer Care Centres, the Point of Sale, retail outlets and on the Website / App of the telecom service provider having the following essential disclosures.
  • All important information viz units / volume of voice, data and SMS, rates for the same as applicable, limit of usage, rates and speed beyond the entitled use etc.
  • Complete details of upfront cost with relevant itemized detail like - First Recharge Coupon, Top up, Advance Rentals,  Deposits etc.
  • Information regarding the validity period of plan and the last date of payment of bill in a clear manner.
  • An exhaustive list of all specific inclusions in tariff plan such as quantity/rate details of voice / data / SMS along with non-telecom products in case of bundled plan.
  • Complete details of all charges that can be levied on consumers for usage of telecom and non-telecom products which are not specifically proposed or included in the tariff plan.
  • All the promised service parameters such as data speed etc., in a clear manner.
  • Complete details of all material conditions including, but not limited to,  details of applicable Fair Usage Policy etc.
B) Essential disclosures for Special Tariff Voucher / Combo Voucher / Add-on Packs
Publish service area wise tariff offer in the nature of Special Tariff Voucher / Combo Voucher / Add-on packs and shall make available such tariff offers to the subscribers at Customer Care Centres, the Point of Sale, retail outlets and on the Website / App of the telecom service provider having the following essential disclosures.
  • All important information viz units / volume of voice, data and SMS, rates for the same as applicable, limit of usage, rates and speed beyond the entitled use etc. of each STV / CV / Add-on pack as applicable. 
  • Complete details of upfront cost like - First Recharge Conditions (FRCs) requirement of subscribing to a tariff plan to avail benefit of a particular STV / CV / Add-on pack which may entail additional cost. 
  • Information regarding the validity period of STV/CV/Add-on pack and the amount of recharge required at the end of validity period in a clear manner. 
  • An exhaustive list of all specific inclusions in STV / CV / Add-on pack, be it quantity/rate details of voice / data / SMS along with non-telecom products in case of bundled offer. 
  • Complete details of all charges that can be levied on consumers for usage of telecom and non-telecom products which are not specifically proposed or included in the STV/CV/Add-on pack. 
  • All the promised service parameters such as data speed etc., in a clear manner. 
  • Complete details of all material conditions including, but not limited to, details of applicable Fair Usage Policy etc.
C) Updation of Detailed Tariff at Customer Care, Website, App
Ensure that the tariff published in the aforesaid manner as per A) & B) above, are updated on the Website, App and Customer Care Center of the service provider, retail outlets, point of sale every time there is any change in any of the tariff offers or new tariff offer is launched.

D) Compliance report with respect to A) & B)
Telecom operators are asked to submit compliance report wrt A) & B) within 15 days from the date of issue i.e., within 15 days from 18-09-2020.

E) Continued compliance on each quarter by service providers
Telecom operators are asked to submit continued compliance wrt C) by way of a self certificate by 7th of the month following the quarter ending 31st March, 30th June, 30th September and 31st December of  the fiscal year.

As per the new TRAI direction, telecom operators are instructed to publish their detailed tariff plans and offers within 15 days from the date of TRAI direction. Telecom operators has to provide all relevant information to its customers like their plan / STV validity, new plan / STV to be recharged after the expiry of current plan / STV, any additional / hidden charges included  etc.


Dear readers, please share your views and opinions about this latest TRAI guidelines via comments with us.

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