Ceiling on tariff for calls, SMS meant for participating in contests and games

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), on Friday, came out with a new tariff order, making it mandatory for operators to offer at least one tariff plan each for post-paid and prepaid subscribers with a uniform ‘one second' pulse rate. It has also put a ceiling on tariff for calls and SMS meant for participating in contests and games.

In its amendments to the Telecommunication Tariff Order (TTO), TRAI said the rates for ‘premium rate services' (PRS), now levied by service providers, were substantially higher vis-a-vis the normal tariff applicable for a two-way communication because the charges levied also included the price for content.

“Keeping in view the fact that calls and SMS made for participating in competition and voting hardly contain any content, the authority has mandated that the tariff for such calls and SMS shall not exceed four times of the applicable local call/SMS charges,” it said. The new amendments also provide flexibility to service providers to apply revision in ILD (international long distance) tariff uniformly for new as well as existing subscribers.

Meanwhile, TRAI has announced a minor hike in the processing fee for all mobile recharge coupons (top-up vouchers) priced above Rs.20.

“The authority has decided to increase the ceiling on processing fee on top up vouchers to Rs.3 from Rs.2 in respect of top-up vouchers having a maximum retail price (MRP) of Rs.20 and above and to continue with the existing ceiling of Rs.2 in respect of top up vouchers having MRP of less than Rs.20,” a TRAI statement said.

Notably, the processing fee is included within the MRP of recharge coupon purchased, which means that a pre-paid customer will get slightly lesser talk time for his recharge coupons.

TRAI has also directed all telecom service providers to provide consumers with at least one top-up voucher priced at Rs.10.

“With a view to protecting the interests of users, the authority mandates that every service provider shall offer and make available to the consumer at least one top up voucher, of denomination of Rs.10,” it added.

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