New TRAI guidelines on mobile VAS for telecoms

Indian telecom regulator TRAI has issued new VAS guidelines to telecom operators (telecoms) to ensure transparency and hassle-free services to mobile customers.

TRAI says VAS activation procedure should include all forms of activations and scenarios –OBD, IVRS, WAP, Mobile Internet, USSD, SMS, Tele-calling and any other mode of activation.

In addition, telecoms have to provide a system which takes a second consent from the customer before providing VAS through any means – OBD, IVRS, WAP, mobile Internet, USSD, SMS, tele-calling or any other mode of activation.

The first offer of a service is on the telecoms’ platform and a second confirmation from the customer is through a dedicated consent gateway which is owned by a third party and not by the telecoms. It is only after receiving a second confirmation from the customer, that the service provider shall activate the value added service.

New TRAI guidelines on mobile VAS for telecoms

Telecoms need to follow a common de-activation procedure using toll Free Common Short Code 155223. Mobile users’ requests for de-activation should be completed in 4 hours.

The deactivation procedure will be publicized through advertisements in newspapers, updation in the website and SMS blasts.

Telecoms — 24 hours before auto renewals of the VAS services — should share information about renewals to the customers, through SMS and Outbound Dialing (OBD).

In addition, telecoms need to refund amount within 24 hours of the customer’s request — in case of wrong activation. Customer requests should be within 24 hours for value added services with validity of more than one day and within 6 hours for value added services with validity of one day.

In case of USSD and SMS mode of activation, no activation response time should be greater than 10 seconds and 60 minutes respectively and in case of non-response, the same should be treated as ‘no activation required’.

Upon activation of VAS service, the de-activation number, the validity of the VAS service and charges for renewal should be explicitly informed.

Telecoms need to send monthly report on activations, de-activations and complaints received and their redressal to TRAI.

[email protected]