TRAI to review policy on regulating mobile tariffs

By Telecom
Lead Team:
TRAI has come out a consultation paper on review of policy of
forbearance in telecom tariff.


TRAI said
forbearance of tariff for a service denotes that TRAI has not, for the time
being, notified any tariff for that particular telecommunication service and
the service providers are free to fix tariff for such service. Tariff
forbearance has never been and is not a permanent Policy followed by TRAI. It
is always open to the Authority to withdraw, wholly or partly, from the
forbearance regime, if the situation so demands.


There are
already precedents wherein the Authority had stepped in to determine tariff in
respect of services, which were initially kept under forbearance, e.g. tariff
for National Roaming Services fixed in 2002.


Some of
the recent developments indicate that there is perhaps a need to review the
policy of forbearance in telecom tariffs. This consultation paper, accordingly,
seeks the comments of the 
on review of the existing regime of tariff forbearance and the desirable tariff
regime for data services, according to JS Sarma, chairman of TRAI.


are requested to send their comments to the following by 24th February, 2012
comments by 2nd March, 2012.


1 Do you
perceive any need for a change in present regulatory

for telecom tariff fixation?

2 Should
TRAI withdraw from the policy of forbearance?

3 If yes,
what should be the basis of tariff regulation? Should it

be by way
of specifying a standard tariff package or by way of

tariff as a ceiling for individual charging components

such as
calls, SMS, etc? Please also suggest the methodology.

4 Would
tariff regulation affect the ability of the telecom service

to introduce innovative tariff plans?

5 What
would be the best method of managing the telecom

tariffs so
as to protect consumer interest even while affording

telecom service providers the necessary flexibility?

6 Is
tariff for data services offered by the service providers

and reasonable?

7 What are
the factors that impact competition in data service

in the

8 What can
be the possible measures by the regulator for

enhanced competition for availability of data

at affordable tariff?

9. Should
TRAI regulate tariff for data services by way of fixing

tariff to protect the interest of the consumers? If yes,

should be the basis and justification for tariff fixation?

empowered to fix tariff for telecommunication services under Section 11(2) of
TRAI Act, 1997. Tariff regulation for telecommunication services in India was
initiated by TRAI with the notification of Telecom Tariff Order, 1999. As per
the existing regulatory framework, tariff for telecommunication services are
under forbearance except for Rural Fixed Line Services, 
Roaming Services and Leased Circuits.


admits that effective regulation results in many benefits, such as greater
economic and technological growth, increased investment in the sector, cost
reduction with improved efficiency, better quality of service, improved
customer satisfaction, affordable prices delivering better value for money and
improved access and availability of services.


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