The Department of Telecom will soon consider the proposals

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has launched an exercise to re-work telecom tariffs for mobile and basic services, a move that could bring down tariffs further in various segements.

The regulator's initiative comes amid representations from consumers against the multiplicity of plans in the market, leading to confusion among them.

Regulations bar a service provider from offering more than 25 tariff plans in a service area at any given time. “TRAI has issued a consultation paper titled — Certain issues relating to telecom tariffs — and sought views from all stakeholders including operators by November 15.

The move coincides with the government plans to merge all 22 telecom circles (States) into one to slash roaming charges.

The Department of Telecom (DoT) is likely to consider the proposal soon. TRAI has specified a standard tariff package for rural fixed line services which the service providers are mandated to offer to the customers in addition to any alternative tariff packages.

Termination charges

According to some operators, there is a scope for reducing termination charges. If this happens, call charges are likely to fall further from the current levels.

The tariff plans offered by service providers have different component of rent and call charges, processing fee, talk time and value added services and the like.

Adequate price transparency is crucial for the correct operation of an efficient and competitive market.

Sometimes it becomes difficult for consumers to find, understand and use the information available on the market to make decisions on the choice of service provider and/or tariff packages that best meet their needs.

The transparency of tariff in the telecom sector is necessary to protect the interests of consumers and to facilitate further growth of telecom services.

The highest number of tariff plans in a service area in respect of the GSM pre-paid category is 39 (Bihar and Mumbai) and the average number is 27.

Whereas, in the case of the CDMA pre-paid category, the 22 highest number of tariff plans is 18 (MP and Punjab) and the average number is 12.

In respect of GSM post-paid, the highest number of tariff plans is 95 (Mumbai) and the average number is 61. In respect of CDMA post-paid, the highest number of tariff plans is 38 (Punjab) and the average number is 27.

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