01:01 am - Wednesday 22 November 2017

Mobile operators likely to charge a number fee for inactive SIM cards

By Parvina Purkayastha - Wed Jan 02, 12:01 pm

India’s mobile service operators have suggested to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) that prepaid subscribers should be charged a number fee if they want to keep their connections inactive for more than 2 months. The recommendation is made as mobile phone number series in India are rapidly being used up and indicating an advent of serious problem.

Service providers also suggested that an outgoing voice call, outgoing SMS, VAS usage, Data usage or activation of a voucher should be considered in the scope of activity with regard to the criteria for deactivation of SIM’s upon non-usage.

All private operators proposed to an annual fee of Rs.300 to Rs.600 as ‘Safe Custody’ facility for prepaid customers to retain their mobile number even after long continuous periods of non-usage.

Some of India’s biggest mobile service providers Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular Reliance Communications, Tata Docomo and BSNL said this in response to the TRAI’s consultation paper on deactivation of  inactive prepaid mobile SIM cards /connections.

According to TRAI, about 200 million prepaid connections in the India are inactive, of which around 55 million have remained unused for more than 6 months. Many customers get used as spare connections, a large chunk remains inactive as we can see the VLR data from telecos, which seems to be a concern of TRAI, and something which they will be looking at during this problem.

Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) suggested that a safe custody process should be provided to the customer wherein any customer desirous of retaining his number for a longer period which is getting into a zero usage cycle can do so by paying charges for the same and reactivate his / her number at the later date of his choice.

After recent massive disconnections of inactive prepaid mobile connection by all major operators, India’s Telecom Watchdog TRAI had sought the mobile service operators views on defining inactive mobile users and the period after which the numbers should be canceled, among other things.

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