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Policy & Regulation
TRAI insists on toll free number, digital sale for global calling cards; rejects DoT''s contention
TT Correspondent |  |  27 Jun 2018

Brushing aside the telecom department's contentions, Trai has stuck to its recommendations pertaining to sale or rent of global calling cards in India.

The regulator has suggested mandating toll free customer care number for helping users of such services, and permitting the sale of global SIM cards only via digital mode.

The Trai has also reiterated its past suggestion that users be compensated in case of non-activation of such services, rejecting the telecom department's views that no provision of penalty payment exists even by other telecom service providers to their customers.

The sector regulator has given a point-by-point reply on the DoT's contention over some of its recommendations submitted in May 2016 and June 2017 on the sale and rent of International Roaming SIM cards, and Global calling cards in India.

Pushing aside the telecom department's objections on these issues, Trai has also reiterated its past suggestion that entities engaged in sale or rent of international SIM card should be answerable to the regulator.

The Department of Telecom or DoT had asked the regulator to "reconsider" its recommendation of making these providers answerable to Trai, saying that under the current dispensation such entities report or respond to the ministry.

"As per the preamble of the Trai Act, the authority is...responsible to protect the interests of consumers of the telecom sector...Accordingly, to fulfil its responsibility, the authority may from time to time require information relating to consumer grievance redressal, tariff, and QoS (quality of service) being offered by them," the regulator said.

The DoT is the issuer of 'No Objection Certificates' that allows firms to engage in sale or rent of international SIM Cards and global calling cards.

Trai has also reiterated its earlier recommendation on allowing purchase of global calling cards or international SIM cards though digital mode only, arguing that such sale should be "at par" with the process followed for other telecom services.

DoT cited mobile SIM card of telecom service providers that can be purchased by any means, including digital mode, but regulator argued that given the digital wave sweeping the country and the fact that bank accounts details may be needed for refunds and penalty, sale through digital mode is the only way to go.

On the issue on compensation for users in event of non-activation of these calling cards, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) justified its position saying that under such circumstances, customers may incur "considerable expenditure" and hardship for availing communication services.

"Since the consumer may be subjected to hardships due to non-activation of services, no usage of the card for reasons beyond the control of the customer like poor network coverage, in-compatibility of handsets etc, he/she needs to be compensated for the same," the regulator said.

(Reported PTI)

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