TRAI to come out with consultation paper on the subject and invite suggestions

Aimed at further rationalising mobile phone tariffs, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is planning to make it mandatory for all mobile operators to give their subscribers option of per-second pulse rate. The telecom regulator will also reduce rates of short-messaging service (SMS), particularly that of premium ones.

“We want mobile operators to give their subscribers cheaper calling option of per-second pulse rate against the prevailing trend of per-minute pulse, which will make mobile more affordable, particularly for those living in rural areas. Similarly, SMS charges will also be brought down soon,” TRAI Chairman J. S. Sarma told The Hindu at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) summit here.

Welcoming the move by some mobile operators of introducing per-second pulse rate, including BSNL, Mr. Sarma said: “Every mobile operator should provide its subscribers best tariff options available in the market today. They should give per-second choice also along with other tariff plans. To make this happen, we will soon come out with a consultation paper on the subject and invite suggestions from the industry and other stakeholders on this.”

Referring to SMS charges, Mr. Sarma said: “I think the SMS rates are on the higher side and need to be brought down. While normal SMS rates need to be further reduced, there is greater scope of bringing down charges of premium SMS rates which are normally above Rs. 3 per SMS. This needs to be regulated. We will soon start the procedure for bringing down SMS rates.”

Premium SMS rates starting from Rs. 3 per SMS, which can go up to Rs. 15 are charged for SMS related to TV game shows or by value-added service providers. Mr. Sarma also said that TRAI was planning to come out with a detailed booklet on various tariffs that telecom operators offer to their subscribers. “There is much confusion over plethora of tariff plans, leaving consumers confused. We will soon come out with a detailed booklet on the same. I think there is need to bring down the large number of tariff plans, and we will take a decision on this,” he added.

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