Clarity on inactive SIM cards likely by March

By : BS Reporter
Last Updated: Mon, Jan 14, 2013 19:21 hrs

The cloud over deactivation of inactive mobile connections would be over by March, with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) hoping to finalise recommendations for deactivating services for unused mobile connections by March.

“In the normal course, it should take one-and-a-half-months more from now,” Trai secretary Rajeev Agarwal said on Monday.

In December last year, the regulator had initiated a debate on the issue of operators arbitrarily disconnecting services of customers on grounds of “non-usage of numbers” or “inactive SIM connections”.

In its consultation paper on “Deactivation of SIMs due to Non-usage”, Trai had said deactivation of a SIM without prior intimation and on arbitrary grounds deprives the subscriber of his mobile number which might have been an identity for him for a long time.

There are about 200 million inactive SIMs across the country which are not being used by customers for a certain period of time. However, these SIMs have a cumulative balance of Rs 128.9 crore, as operators have informed Trai.

However, telcos have told Trai that deactivation of inactive SIMs would help operators to manage the number series efficiently.

In a recent report on its activities during the calendar year 2012, Trai stated that it would continue with the existing tariff regime for the time being that allows operators to decide on charges for telecom services.

“Trai sought views of stakeholders on the need to review the existing regime of tariff forbearance. Taking into account the feedback received from stakeholders, Trai has decided to continue with the existing tariff regime for the time being,” according to the Trai report.

“We will continue to focus on orderly growth of the telecom sector, ensuring that interests of both consumers and operators are protected,” Agarwal said.

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