Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released The Draft Telecom Consumers Protection (Tenth Amendment) Regulations, 2016 for public consultation inviting comments of the stakeholders.
The present regulatory regime governed by TCPR-2012 allows telecom service providers to offer data services in the form of special tariff voucher (STV) either exclusively or in combination of other tariff items with a maximum permitted validity of 90 days. Requests have been received by TRAI seeking longer validity for data-packs (i.e., special tariff vouchers with only data benefits) primarily to address the concern of marginal consumers of wireless Internet who prefer lower denomination data packs with longer validity. After examination of various aspects of the issue, the authority feels a longer validity of 365 days instead of the current 90 days could be beneficial for marginal consumers, first-time users, and price-sensitive consumers. The proposed amendment to the TCPR thus envisages that an STV with data only benefits would be allowed to be offered for 365 days' validity instead of maximum 90 days allowed now.