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Essential disclosures for published tariff plans and offers.

TRAI instructs telecom service providers to publish tariff plans area-wise.

On 18 September 2020, the Indian Telecoms Regulatory Authority (TRAI) issued new guidelines on the publication of tariffs by telecom providers in India. According to the latest information, TRAI has requested all telecom service providers to publish relevant information on tariff plans related to the coverage area.

Each telecom operator is required to provide comprehensive details on all current prepaid and postpaid tariff plans, special tariff vouchers, combo vouchers, add-on plans, etc. on their websites, mobile apps, customer service hotlines, and other retail locations. Operators must now make the terms and conditions of a certain tariff plan, STV, or combo voucher public in order for customers to fully grasp key details like the number of calls, data, and SMS they may send and receive, the charges associated with such services, the maximum speed at which they can use those services, etc.

On November 27th, the authority published a consultation paper on “Transparency in Publishing of Tariff Offers” in response to changes in the nature and makeup of tariff offers over time, which could result in a possibility that consumers may encounter situations of lack of information, misleading information, unclear or difficult-to-find information, and information difficult to assess and compare in the marketplace, impairing their ability to make an informed decision.

Stakeholders are urged to provide insightful comments and ideas in this consultation document that might improve the transparency of tariff offers and assist subscribers in selecting tariffs with knowledge. TRAI has now determined that the current regulatory procedures pertaining to the disclosure of tariff plans need to be amended based on the feedback it received from stakeholders. The following are the updated TRAI guidelines for telecom service providers’ publishing of tariff offers: –

A) Essential disclosures for tariff plans

publish service area-specific tariff plans for post-paid and prepaid subscribers, as appropriate, and make such tariff plans available to subscribers at Customer Care Centers, the Point of Sale, retail locations, and on the website and mobile application of the telecom service provider.

  • Everything crucial, including the units/volume of voice, data, and SMS, charges for each as appropriate, the use cap, rates and speeds over the permitted use, etc.
  • Complete upfront cost information, including all necessary itemized information, such as First Recharge Coupon, Top Up, Advance Rentals, Deposits, etc.
  • Clear information on the plan’s validity length and the last date for bill payment.
  • An thorough list of all particular elements in the tariff plan, including information on the quantity and cost of voice, data, and SMS messages as well as non-telecom products in bundled plans.
  • In-depth information on all fees that may be assessed against customers for using telecom and non-telecom items that are not expressly mentioned or included in the tariff plan.
  • every pledge

B) Special Tariff Voucher, Combo Voucher, and Add-on Packs: Important Disclosures

publish service area-specific tariff offers in the form of Special Tariff Vouchers, Combo Vouchers, or Add-on Packs and make these tariff offers available to subscribers at Customer Care Centers, Points of Sale, retail locations, and on the telecom service provider’s website and mobile application with the following key disclosures.

  • Each STV, CV, and Add-on pack’s relevant vital details, such as the units/volume of voice, data, and SMS, charges for the same, use limits, rates and speed beyond the permitted use, etc.
  • Complete information on upfront costs, such as First Recharge Conditions (FRCs), which stipulate that customers must subscribe to a tariff plan in order to receive the benefits of a certain STV, CV, or Add-on pack, all of which may incur additional costs.
  • Clear information on the amount of recharge needed at the end of the validity period for STV, CV, and Add-on packs.
  • a comprehensive list of all individual items in STV, CV, and Add-on packs, including information about the quantity and cost of voice, data, and SMS as well as non-telecom products in bundled offers.
  • full information about everything

C) Detailed Tariff Updates at Customer Care, Website, and App

Ensure that the tariff published in the aforesaid manner as per A) & B) above, are updated on the Website, App and Customer Care Center of the service provider, retail outlets, point of sale every time there is any change in any of the tariff offers or new tariff offer is launched.

D) Compliance report with respect to A) & B)

In order to comply with A) and B), telecom operators must submit a compliance report within 15 days of the date of issue, or in this case, within 15 days of 18-09-2020.

E) Service providers’ ongoing compliance each quarter

By the seventh day of the month after the quarters ending on March 31, June 30, September 30, and December 31 of the fiscal year, telecom operators are required to self-certify their continued compliance with clause C).

Telecom providers are required by the new TRAI directive to disclose their complete rate plans and offers within 15 days of the directive’s date. The validity of their existing plan or STV, the new plan or STV that must be recharged once the current plan or STV expires, any additional or hidden costs contained, and other pertinent information must be provided by telecom operators to their clients.

Dear readers, please share your views and opinions about this latest TRAI guidelines via comments with us.

What do you think?

Written by Shallu Srivastav

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