The telecom regulator, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) today said it expects to finalise the recommendations for deactivating services of inactive mobile phone connections by March.

“In normal course, it (recommendations) should take one-and-a-half-month more from now,” Rajeev Agrawal, Secretary, TRAI said.

Last month, the TRAI had initiated a debate on the issue of operators arbitrarily disconnecting services of customers on grounds of ‘non-usage of numbers’ or ‘inactive SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) connections’.

“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,” the TRAI had said in its consultation paper titled ‘Deactivation of SIMs due to Non-usage’.

Consumers suffer from a potential loss of activity in both personal and professional set-ups causing an adverse impact on livelihood, it had added.

According to the information provided by telecom firms to the regulator, around 20 crore SIMs have been inactive for over a certain period of time and the total balance on that account is Rs 128.9 crore.

The telecom operators in their meetings with TRAI have said that they have to deactivate SIMs to efficiently manage the number series (mobile phone numbers) allocated to them by the Department of Telecom.

The last date for submitting written comments on the issues raised in the consultation paper was December 21, 2012, while that for receiving counter comments was December 28, 2012.

(This article was published on January 14, 2013)
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