TRAI wants telecoms to offer enough info on mobile data pack usage

Aiming to protect consumer rights, TRAI, India’s telecom regulator, said the service providers should provide ample information about subscribed data pack usage.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said this in the draft “Telecom Consumers Protection (Eighth Amendment) Regulations, 2015” released for for public consultation on Wednesday. Comments of stakeholders can be submitted till May 12.

It is proposed to mandate the service providers to provide information, through SMS or unstructured supplementary service data (USSD), to mobile users, who have subscribed to data connection other than through data packs, about quantum of data used and the tariff thereof after every 5,000 kilobytes of data usage, TRAI said.

The sector regulator in a statement said it has been receiving several complaints from consumers regarding non-availability of information relating to the amount of data used during a data session.

The service providers offer concessional tariff for data, upto a certain limit, through special tariff vouchers or combo vouchers (data packs) and also through certain tariff plans.

The tariff for any usage beyond the specified limit is substantially higher, and in case the customer does not know about reaching the limit for concessional tariff, it results in substantial charges levied, leading to sudden bill shock or unexpected deduction of balance amount.

“The consumers have also voiced their concern about activation of internet service on mobile phones without their consent and knowledge leading to sudden deduction of charges for data usage,” the statement said.

“The TRAI has examined these complaints and has felt that measures need to be taken for addressing these genuine concerns of customers. In this regard, TRAI proposes to amend the Telecom Consumers Protection Regulations, 2012,” it added.

The TRAI also proposed by the regulator to mandate the service providers to provide the mobile subscriber, who has taken data connection through data packs or through tariff plan with discounted tariff up to certain limit, an alert through SMS or USSD, whenever the limit of data usage reaches 50 percent, 90 percent and 100 percent of data limit.

“Also when the usage reaches 90 percent of the limit, information about the applicable tariff beyond the data limit shall also to be communicated,” the statement added.

It is proposed that data services should be activated or deactivated only with the explicit consent of the subscriber through toll free short code 1925, following the prescribed procedures for obtaining explicit consent of the consumer and for deactivation data.