Info-tech

Telecom chiefs summoned for slackness in complying with value-added service norms

Thomas K. Thomas New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on May 22, 2013

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Some two-crore subscribers have complained to the telecom regulator that operators were activating value-added services without consent.





The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has summoned chief executive officers of all telecom companies on Thursday on the issue of taking consent from users before activating any service.

The telecom regulator had issued an order in 2011 which made it mandatory for telecom companies to take consent from subscribers for activating any service. However the operators have not fully complied with the order.

According to industry sources the telecom regulator will ask operators to explain the delay and why action should not be taken against them. The regulator is also expected to hear out the telecom companies’ formula to address the issue.

Subscriber complaints

Some two-crore subscribers have complained to the telecom regulator that the operators were activating value-added services such as ring-back tones and music downloads.

An audit by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India through independent agencies found that 60 lakh Airtel subscribers have complained in the past 15 months that value-added services had been activated without their consent. As many as 40 lakh Idea Cellular subscribers network were unhappy with the way the services had been forced on them.

Confirmation needed

On July 4, 2011, TRAI had asked mobile companies not to activate VAS without getting the consent of the subscribers. The operators were supposed to obtain confirmation through an SMS, e-mail, a fax or in writing within 24 hours of activation of the VAS. Further, every service-provider had to inform the consumer through SMS at least three days before the date of renewal of a subscribed value-added service. If there is insufficient balance in the pre-paid account of a consumer at the time of renewal of subscription to a value-added service, the service provider is to send a request, through an SMS.

Unhappy, the operators went to court against the TRAI order on grounds that as SMSes are generated in English, a majority of subscribers find it difficult to give consent. However, the court dismissed the operators’ plea and asked them to comply with the orders.

> thomas.thomas@thehindu.co.in

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Published on May 22, 2013
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