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TRAI issued new regulations to protect consumers from bill shocks.

TRAI issued telecom consumers protection regulations 2020.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) – the regulator of the telecommunications industry in India – on 30 September 2020 issued the Telecom Consumer Protection Regulations (Eleventh Amendment) 2020 (07 of 2020).

On topics including prices, interconnections, quality of service, Direct To Home (DTH) services, and mobile number portability, TRAI routinely issues orders and directives. One of TRAI’s primary goals is to create a fair and open environment that supports equal opportunity and encourages fair competition in the nation’s telecom sector. The most recent change made by TRAI regarding foreign cell roaming services is another step toward giving customers more control and safeguarding them against bill shock.

After hearing feedback from stakeholders and holding open house discussions using online video conferencing tools, TRAI has published this most recent modification. In regulation 9 of the Telecom Consumers Protection Regulations 2012, TRAI included a new chapter (Chapter VI). “Measures to protect consumers from bill shocks while using international mobile roaming service” is the title of the new chapter.

IMR, which enables customers of one mobile operator to use service (Voice, SMS, or Data) from an operator in a different country while using the same mobile device and mobile number, is characterized by frequent occurrences of bill shock. As a result, the regulator has decided to introduce new laws that will provide customers with additional information about choosing a tariff, using data, using services in areas that are not covered by a tariff, etc. The following are the main directives of this new amendment: –

Only at customer request should international mobile roaming be enabled.

Each service provider must guarantee that the international mobile roaming service is disabled by default for all customers, enabled only at the customer’s request, and cancelled at any time at the customer’s request. The specific decision of each existing customer to keep using or stop using the activated international mobile roaming service, if applicable, may be obtained through SMS, email, or mobile application, if available, within thirty days of the date these regulations were published.

Consumer education on how to activate an overseas cell phone roaming service.

Every service provider is required to inform the customer of the following information as soon as the international mobile roaming service is activated: (i) the fact that the service has been activated; and (ii) the applicable tariff (if any) for the activation of the international mobile roaming service (one-time charges as well as recurring charges as may be applicable).

Information to consumers on selection of tariff

Every service provider must promptly give the customer the following information through SMS, email, and mobile application, if available, after the choice of a rate for using international mobile roaming service when visiting a country (or countries). – (i) the rates that apply to the delivery of voice, SMS, and data services while roaming abroad; (ii) the specific carriers (visiting country operators) that must be chosen, if appropriate, in order to take advantage of the agreed pricing; and (iii) the repercussions of any failure to do so.
the specifics of the consumer protection measure in place for safeguarding the consumer from bill shocks when using international mobile roaming service, as well as (iii) a list of steps that the consumer must take to prevent bill shocks while using international mobile roaming service: or (v)

Information sent to the customer in the host nation as soon as the mobile device is turned on by the user

Every service provider must: (a) give the customer all the information and in the way described in regulation 19 as soon as the consumer turns on his mobile equipment in the country they are visiting.
(b) warn and inform the customer via SMS if they have not signed up for a specific International Mobile Roaming Tariff Pack offered by the service provider about the potential for extremely high fees if they use voice, SMS, or data services at standard rates.

Information to users at various phases of entitlement data consumption expiration when roaming overseas in accordance with the chosen tariff.

Every service provider is required to notify customers through SMS, email, and mobile application, if one is available, when data use reaches thresholds of 50%, 80%, 90%, and 100% of the data allotment.

Consumer education around the possibility of using international mobile roaming.
service in a nation or region that is not covered by the tariff that was subscribed, or where the relevant rate is different from the tariff that was subscribed.

Every service provider is required to notify customers through SMS, email, and mobile application, if available, when a customer commences usage of an international mobile roaming service in a country or region that is not covered by the tariff subscribed or where the relevant rate differs from the subscription tariff.
(a) alert the customer to the fact that they are moving through a zone that is not protected by the chosen tariff.
(b) warn and caution the customer about the potential for very high fees if they use phone, SMS, or data services at regular rates; and (c) give the customer information about the tariff that is in effect in such an unreachable area.

Construction of a facility to provide information about a customer’s account when they are travelling abroad

Each service provider is required to set up or assign a unique toll.
Free short code that enables users to look for the following details by SMS when travelling abroad:

(i) the international mobile roaming service fee that is applicable; and
(ii) the fee for overseas mobile roaming service that is invoiced or charged to the consumer’s account.

Dear readers, kindly let us know in the comments what you think about this most recent TRAI legislation. How many of you have experienced bill shock after using foreign roaming services for mobile devices?

What do you think?

Written by Shallu Srivastav

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