TRAI wants telecoms to up data package validity to 365 days

Mobile data revenue overtakes voice income
Indian telecom regulator TRAI said it proposes telecom service providers to increase the validity of mobile data packages to up to 365 days from 90 days at present.

TRAI said an STV with “data only” benefits would be allowed to be offered for 365 days validity instead of maximum 90 days allowed now. Such STVs providing “data only” benefits must satisfy all conditions of a STV as specified in TCPR, 2012 including that these shall not be offered in denominations of Rupees 10 or multiples thereof, said TRAI.

TRAI noted that allowing “data only” STVs to have validity up to 365 days, would provide more flexibility to the telecom service providers to offer innovative data products. The consumers, who use less of data services than average and those, who are presently not using any data services are likely to be the primary target consumers of such longer validity STVs.

If the telecom service providers make available attractive products of this kind, many first-time data users would be induced to try consumption of data services as they may not be required to activate voucher frequently because of longer validity. This is likely to boost Internet penetration in the country and, in turn, would reap socioeconomic benefits to the country.

TRAI said it has received requests seeking longer validity for data-packs (i.e. Special Tariff Vouchers with only data benefits) to address the concerns of marginal consumers of wireless Internet.

Many mobile consumers, who have recently begun using wireless Internet on their mobile, consume much less data (Internet) services. TRAI said a significant portion of the volume of data offered in the data-packs subscribed by them remains unutilized by the time expiry date of data-pack arrives. The unutilized data in the data-pack is forfeited upon expiry of the period of validity, said TRAI.

Only 31.35 crore wireless subscribers used Internet out of a total wireless subscriber base of 103.37 crore at the end of March, 2016. The penetration of wireless Internet in the country was 30 percent at the end of March, 2016.

TRAI said the wireless data usage grew by about 58 percent during quarter ending March, 2015 to quarter-ending March 2016, while the wireless subscriber base, which used Internet , grew by mere 16 percent in a year from March 2015 to March 2016.

Vina Krishnan
[email protected]