Trai asks telcos not to disconnect services

Trai asks telcos not to disconnect services

The telecom regulator Trai has directed the telecom operators not to immediately disconnect services of customers with "sufficient" pre-paid balance as it took note of telcos asking such users to go in for mandatory monthly recharge plan.

"Tariff and plans are under forbearance and we don't generally intervene. But if there is sufficient money in the account and despite that people are being told that the services will be disconnected, it is not correct," Trai Chairman RS Sharma told reporters here.

The directive in this regard has gone out to operators on Tuesday, he added.

The regulator sent the directive to telecom firms following the complaints that customers were getting text messages to 'mandatorily' recharge their prepaid accounts in order to continue to avail services.

The subscribers also complained that these messages are being sent despite their pre-paid accounts having "sufficient balance".

The TRAI, which is examining the issue in its entirety, asked the telecom firms to "duly inform subscribers in a clear and transparent manner the date on which the current validity of existing plan would expire and the manner in which the subscriber can opt for the available plans."

The regulator also directed the operators that, "till such time, services of such customers who have balance in pre-paid accounts equal to minimum recharge amount, should not be discontinued".

Following fall in revenue due to stiff competition from Reliance Jio, two largest operators Airtel and Idea-Vodafone had announced minimum monthly recharge plans starting from Rs 35. This means, if customers failed to recharge Rs 35 per month, their services will be disconnected regardless their utilisation of the mobile.