TRAI publishes mobile tariffs challenging telecom operators and consumers

TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) will start publishing mobile tariffs of all service providers in its website – posing challenges to operators and consumers.
TRAI website on tariffs
The strategy of TRAI is to ensure that mobile phone service providers are more transparency in sharing their wireless tariffs to 1 billion plus customers.

The latest development is important for the wireless customers because there is lack of clarity in wireless charges from several telecom operators. It is not easy for mobile phone consumers to scan through hundreds of offers before making their purchases.

“Presently, telecom service providers (TSPs) offer mobile tariffs at their websites. TRAI launched a beta version of portal namely to enable consumers to see tariffs of different TSPs in different locations in a single place,” TRAI said.

The telecom regulator said the webpage has various tariff plans and other tariff instruments in downloadable format for easy access. This platform would benefit the consumers and other stakeholders to do a comparative analysis.

TRAI has started uploading tariffs for Delhi telecom circle at present. Based on the feedback from consumers and other stakeholders, TRAI will add other circles and other information which can assist mobile phone consumers to make purchase related decisions.

“To get feedback on the look and feel of this portal from consumers, beta version of tariff data for Delhi LSA is also made available on TRAI website The details made available on website portal are as reported by the TSPs of Delhi LSA,” Sanjeev Banzal, advisor (IT&CA), TRAI, said.

No Impact?

Indian mobile operators are bringing out new telecom tariffs without making much publicity, showing less engagement with consumers. There is lack of information on some of the plans available to wireless consumers.

Since some plans are connected to promoting data business of operators, several millions consumers are forced to buy costly (comparatively) plans from their TSPs. For instance, if SMS is not part of the cheap data plan, consumers will be forced to pay more for a plan that has SMS.

The availability of all tariffs in one place will bring more transparency and consumers can make comparison. But TRAI does not say that telecom operators will be accountable in offering tariffs — when mobile subscribers reach the retail outlet — as shown in the TRAI website.

Present website

The beta version has given lots of tariff plans of Delhi-based telecom operators such as Aircel, Airtel, Idea, Vodafone, Reliance Jio and MTNL. TRAI has copy pasted some of the information available from the respective telecom operators. Simplification of tech words such as “Local Off Net”, “National On Net”, “Mobile On Net”, “Mobile Off Net”, etc. will assist India’s mobile subscribers.

Here is the another example: MTNL’s Rs 49 plan for 180 days offers Local & STD Onnet Voice 1p/2 sec – Local & STD Offnet Voice @ 1p/sec – Local onnet Video @ 1p/2 sec, Local offnet video – 1p/sec STD Video @ 1p/sec – Local SMS @ Rs. 0.50/SMS – National SMS @ Rs. 1.00/SMS – International SMS @ Rs.2.5/Rs. 5/SMS – Roaming O

If TRAI is not making value addition, the information available in the website will become more complex for subscribers.

Baburajan K