Prepaid Mobile Connections with Rs.20 Balance Cannot be Deactivated : TRAI

India’s Telecom regulator TRAI today released a Regulation on ‘Deactivation of Cellular Mobile Telephone Connections due to Non-usage’ where in it said that  inactive prepaid mobile connections cannot be deactivated if they have a minimum balance of Rs.20 in their account and the time period for considering ‘inactive’ has been set at 90 days.

TRAI Allows Mobile Operators to Offer Combo Recharge

TRaid said that at present, there is lack of transparency in carrying out such disconnections of mobile connections by verious service providers. Prepaid mobile consumers are also not adequately informed regarding the terms and conditions of such disconnections. In the event of deactivation, the balance amount in the account of the consumer gets forfeited. In such conditions, deactiation has been causing inconvenience to consumers.

TRAI announced the Telecom Consumers Protection (Sixth Amendment) Regulations, 2013 seeks to protect the interests of mobile consumers while keeping in mind the major concerns of TSPs in the matter of deactivation of SIMs.

TRAI guidelines for Deactivation of Mobile Connection due to non-usage :

  1. The mobile connections of prepaid consumers shall not be deactivated for any period of non-usage less than 90 days;
  2. For the purpose of usage, a voice call/ video call (incoming or outgoing) or an outgoing SMS or a data usage or usage of Value Added Services, or payment of rental (in case of post paid connection) etc. shall definitely fall in the scope of activity, the service provider may prescribe any other activity as well.
  3. There shall be no deactivation if the balance in prepaid consumer account is Rs.20/- or more.
  4. An ‘Automatic Number Retention Scheme’ shall be implemented for prepaid consumers on payment of reasonable charges.
  5. A consumer whose connection is deactivated shall be given a grace period of 15 days within which he can reactivate the same number;.
  6. Consumers shall be transparently communicated the terms and conditions of deactivation of SIMs due to non-usage.
  7. The Regulations also mandate implementation of a ‘Safe Custody Scheme’ for postpaid consumers on payment of a reasonable charge. Such consumers will not be required to pay monthly rental during the period of safe custody.

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  • azeem - hyderbaed November 9, 2014 12:19 am

    very nice

  • irfan khan - hyderabad November 5, 2014 9:16 am

    From past two years i am using my personal number.Tata docomo has done deactive my no. Vast service i loses my business number

  • Suarab - Mumbai November 3, 2014 8:35 am

    Vodafone deactivated my sim card and when i called the number someone else answered.My concern is that do the telecom operators keep oir documents even after deactivating our number and reissuing it to someone else.

  • krishnamoorthy - SALEM, INDIA October 25, 2014 10:47 am

    I have 2G&3g Simcards withme and both are active. As such I do not find any difference between 2G or 3G. When you go on introducing 4G and otherGs donot you feel that you are simply fooling the customers? Sorry for writing this comment, Krishnamoorthy

    • Sam - CHENNAI October 28, 2014 3:25 pm

      Please understand that there’s a massive difference between one G and the next G – one generation of a difference.
      Maybe you didn’t feel/realize the difference in speed or bandwidth (probably) because your city isn’t connected with a 3G network. Or the particular network you are latched on to hasn’t completed its full 3G implementation.
      I’ve been on full 4G networks on Singapore – and the speeds are like 35 – 45 Mbps (this is indeed the lower side), but there are times when this falls to 10 – 20 Mbps.

  • balakrishnan - pudukkottai August 1, 2014 11:47 am

    hello sir! my vodafone number’s outgoing messeges was blocked in 4 days. i called customer care officer told me you can conduct vodafone showroom. or visit vodafone website, go trai regulations page here you can register your moble number. but i wassearch anywhere but i can’t find anythink. pleas help me. kindly send direct link my

  • kartikeyan pawar June 23, 2014 11:01 am

    i perchased a new sim of airtel bt nt get the talktime offered on it what should do ??

  • aditi June 16, 2014 1:12 pm

    Plz i need ur assistance in the matter. Today i visited a vodafone store to get my phone to PREPAID from postpaid in the morning. First of all the attendants did their best to persuade me to not to change to prepaid and offered me various postpaid plans. When I insisted that i want to change it to PREPAID , they told me that I will need to keep RECHARGE my no for at least Rs 100 per month [minimum]. Failing which my no will be discontinued if I dont recharge and also talk with that recharge. They say it is trai rule. Is it true or they are fooling me ? Plz reply urgently. IN SHORT, IF I CONVERT MY NO TO PREPAID I WILL HAVE TO RECHARGE FOR 100 RUPEES AND I HAVE TO USE IT COMPLETEY FAILING WHICH MY NO WILL BE CANCELLED> DONT U THINK THIS IS A FORCED ON CUSTOMER. what should i do

  • Mamia June 14, 2014 5:47 am

    I had been a vodafone customer for last 4 years. But due to getting shifted to new city Mumbai I was not using my vodafone number for almost 7-8 months but I’m still having the SIMcard with me.

    Now what Vodafone did is they deactivated my number. According to TRAI rules if the operator is deactivating the number for the reason of not using for last 90 days, that’s fine. I was okay with that. I thought there must be a way to get my number re-activated.

    When I called Customer Care to get my number re-activated I was shocked with their reply. They replied that I can’t get my number re-activated again, because they have provided the same number to someone else. Can they allocate the same number to some other subscriber?

    Think from the security point of view. Some of Social/professional accounts even my banking accounts are having my previous number only. Anyone who have got my number can even access my accounts. Won’t that effect my security?

    Moreover when I asked the customer care to lodge a complaint, they told they can’t do so coz someone else is using the same number. What the hell!! Is that kind of services are expected from Customer Care?

    Does TRAI gives authorization to the mobile operators to allocate the same number to someone else without getting the permission from the previous user of the same number?

    They simply can’t provide my number to someone else without my permission as all my secured accounts are having my old number as mobile verification number.

    • Ram August 1, 2014 11:33 am

      That’s scary! Damnn

  • Guruansh Singh May 29, 2014 10:54 pm

    Hey. My sim got deactivated beacuse it was inactive for 4 months. Vodafone. Is there any way to get it reactivated?

  • Sambit May 14, 2014 11:37 pm

    Please somebody tell me how do I cancel/close a BSNl connection

  • krishan May 9, 2014 11:32 pm

    tata is not show any roaming signal but charges is very high .tata customer employee have no information for to tell us what is roaming and network is very poor .

  • Dev May 9, 2014 7:54 pm

    I think either this rule is not true or operators are not following this rule. If i Have 150 Rs balance then how can they deactivate the sim only in 4 months. The operators are fooling people by these rules. they are forcing customer to put high balance in inactive sim, and after that they are deactivating sim in just 3 -4 months irrespective of balance you have in your sim.

  • Sandesh April 21, 2014 6:00 pm

    Dear sir
    My tata docomo sim has temprovary has blocked by rhe trai. So I wanted to activate my sim. So plz suggest me.

  • Yogesh April 11, 2014 11:37 am

    @MANISH JAIN, : In dec 2011 Tata Docomo had deactivated my 2 prepaid sim : each had 40 rs TT. I went to nearest Tata Docomo Official Store , resubmit my document n photo as per they had ask n in 2 hour both sim got re activated . You also try the same : n you can email them at : listen@tatadocomo.com ; else call them on : 1860-266-5555 from any operators sim , as at present your TATA DOCOMO SIM has been blocked . This may help you.

  • Manish Jain April 11, 2014 10:51 am

    Hi,
    My Docomo Mobile No. is deactivated on 25.02.2014, it was with balance of Rs. 105, i am not using this no. for calls but, it is registered for some Mobile transactions.
    Please suggest, How i can Reactivate the same. It is important for me.

    Manish

  • philip February 13, 2014 6:04 pm

    what exactly mean by “inactive”. I am not using my prepaid phone for any incoming/outgoing but I am using it for financial incoming SMSs. And have balance
    of Rs 392/—
    “There shall be no deactivation if the balance in prepaid consumer account is Rs.20/- or more.” Is this applicable after 90 days of inactivity also ???

    What will the new validity date if an sms is send before the expiry date assigned on account of first inactivity ???

    Will it be 90 days or only 30 days ??

    what is the period and amount in ruppees of recharging to keep the number alive ???

    Will this be active for only 90 days ?? To continue with the number if I recharge for a min of 20-25 rupees once in a 6 months is sufficient ?

    Thanks

  • philip February 13, 2014 4:54 am

    Hi Sanjay,

    I have a prepaid airtel mobile from Bangalore . At present i am abroad. This mobile was not active for about 90 days. On Jan 28, 2014, a debit of Rs 20/- was noted (000000058) and a temporary expiry date was assigned to Feb13,2014. On 11th Feb 2014 recvd one SMS asking me to charge within 15 day or the service will be stopped. Immediately i sent one SMS to India to keep this phone active and I have charged with Rs 200/- more. Now the balance reflect as 317/–. Checking on line My account I see that Temporary expiry date is put now to March 09, 2014. On calling the help desk they were very vauge in saying that the phone will be cut of as this is not in use.
    Will appreciate your coment in this case. Please confirm, since I have accessed airtel network on Feb 11, 2014, to send SMS, The new date of the Expiry should be 90 days from Feb 11,2014.
    What will happen on the date of Mar 09, if i do not make any o/g call/sms. Do i have to charge the mobile, on what date and the minimum amount applicable to retain this Mobile. I have assigned this Mob# to my bankers/ lot of friends and relatives. If the # is taken away It is going to be a hustle to get new one and let every body know about the change. The safe custody seen on Airtel web site seems not to be known to the help desk people even after pointing the web address in details. If that was in service Rs 600/ could keep the mobile active for 24 months, which is very suitable for most people travelling abroad. Trai guide lines semms to be logical. But the application of it by the service providers seems to be not very good. the so called life time validity is no more true.

    I am yet to hear from nodal officer.KK

    Thank you for keping a web page so that people can obtain a better idea to manage these kind of problems.

    Regards,

    Philip

  • bujji2debug November 1, 2013 9:08 pm

    what exactly mean by “inactive”. I am not using my phone for any incoming/outgoing but I am using it for financial incoming SMSs. And have balance of 40/-.

    Will this be active for only 60 days ?? To continue with the number if I recharge for a min of 20-25 rupees once in a 6 months is sufficient ?

  • sohom September 12, 2013 9:46 am

    my docomo sim is closed for 45 days wheather the sim is activated till now or???

  • Tejas August 20, 2013 6:35 am

    90 day non usage and 20 Rs balance , is confusing.

    If I have 50 Rs balance remaining , but there is non usage for 100 days ..will they deactivate it as now its more than 90 days ? ..or will they keep it since I have more than 20 Rs .

    Does this mean I can keep more than 20 Rs ..say 50 Rs and have lifetime validity even though there is non usage For more than 90 days ?

    • Sam - CHENNAI October 28, 2014 3:41 pm

      It works like this:
      (1) You are allowed to be inactive (meaning no usage) for a max of 90 continuous days. After that, Rs.20 will be deducted every 30 calendar days…
      (2) The above continues till there’s a usage – in which case you are back to (1) above.
      (3) If there’s still no usage beyond 90 days, the deduction of Rs.20 will continue for every 30 days till your balance falls below Rs.20. Once it is below Rs.20, there’ll be a disconnection any time, but now there’s a grace period of 15 days from the date of disconnection to re-activate your number (by paying some charges).
      Hope the above clears the air!

  • binu June 11, 2013 9:47 am

    I was an airtel post paid customer for almost 6 years. Dis satisfied with their service i ported the number to Idea. There was a due of Rs.1120 from the previous operator. usually i pay my bills online and after porting i could not do it. There was no airtel office near my home town too. Idea disconnected the service saying that i hav to clear the dues. Some hw i managed to pay the dues and even after 16 hours the service is not reinstated. Anyone knows the time limit by rule for re connection,

    • Dinesh January 3, 2014 11:39 am

      i am facing the same type of problem. Share your experience have you resolved your problem and if yes how? in my case both operators are saying they cant reactivate number.

  • raju February 26, 2013 12:13 pm

    What about min.recharge for Rs 200 in 6 months? Are they going to deactivate if this is not performed?

  • Rohit February 26, 2013 12:38 am

    That’s good move by TRAI.
    One more thing team TelecomTalk, telecomtalk.Info is not accessible in UAE, It’s blocked

    • SS February 26, 2013 11:16 am

      I don’t know about Etisalat but its working on Du. Checked with proxy servers of United Arab Emirates

      • Rohit February 26, 2013 12:01 pm

        With du it’s working, but not with etisalat

        • SS February 26, 2013 12:55 pm

          Thanks for the clarifications! I think Etisalat is feeling humiliated on articles of “Etisalat quit in India”.

  • nekib February 25, 2013 3:06 pm

    Good move by TRAI. I have lost 3 numbers due to inactivity. Now we can secure our numbers.

  • abhay shekhawat February 25, 2013 8:02 am

    simply port the desired number to bsnl and do the validity recharge of 34 rs and thus preserve the numbr for 5 months

    • S.Sudhakar February 26, 2013 10:18 am

      That is ok. But costly.

      Buy any provider offering per second rate. Have Rs.10 or more as balance. Then make 1 outgoing call and disconnect immediately (after charging) every 85th day. It will cost you maximum Rs.0.02 per second only.

      If a single attempt costs Rs.0.10 (keeping 5 seconds for testing). Then for one year it will cost you only Rs.0.40 for four attempts. Simple.

      But you have to put reminder or remember when the 85th day comes.

      I regularly take all my SIM every 28th or 30th day and make one outgoing call to customer care IVR or so and disconnect. Simple.

  • rahul February 25, 2013 12:42 am

    these guys will now activate vas services on your mobile to bring your balance below 20/-

    they still do it without any reason … now they have all reason to do it..

    there should be a provision that no company can activate any VAS service without receiving SMS from the customer

  • Manoj Abhigyan February 24, 2013 5:35 pm

    Under new regulation, w.e.f. March 22, telecom operators will be allowed to deduct an amount, not exceeding Rs 20, every month based from balance amount in inactive mobile number till the number is not deactivated and the balance falls below Rs 20.

    As per amended regulations, telecom operator will have to provide facility to pre-paid to reactivate numbers by paying reasonable amount.

    “A consumer whose connection is deactivated shall be given a grace period of 15 days within which he can reactivate the same number,” TRAI added.

    In case of post-paid customer, the new regulation says that telecom operator will have to provide safe custody scheme to the subscriber under which he/she can be charged an amount not exceeding Rs 150 for three months to retain the inactive number.

    The new regulation also says that telecom operators should not charge monthly rental during from customers who opt for safe custody scheme. TRAI has barred telecom operators from deactivating mobile number of those post-paid customers who have paid advance rent for certain period.

    • S.Sudhakar February 26, 2013 10:30 am

      Hey. I take all my extra SIMs out and make one outgoing call on the 28th or 30th day. So I think they will not charge any rental to my number since I am making call before 30 days of the previous transaction.

  • Amit February 24, 2013 11:53 am

    good move TRAI keep it up

  • Pranajit February 23, 2013 7:06 pm

    Had it come a month earlier.The sleazy Vodafone deactivated my sim without any notice.and with it gone my balance of Rs.183.50.And within a single day,the number was assigned to other subscriber.
    Somewhat a reasonable move by insipid TRAI

  • spiderman February 23, 2013 5:32 pm

    Is this means if I keep more than 20 Talk Time, the operator can’t de-activate it ?
    (Think like I am not doing any activity, say for N years).. Need clarity on this

    • SS February 23, 2013 9:14 pm

      No, they will push some new condition. As per now, there are 2 conditions-
      1. Your number will be deactivated if you don’t recharge it with 200 (also consume the same) within 6 months.
      2. Your number will be deactivated if your validity expires and you don’t recharge.
      3. As everyone here is saying that they will activate VAS and bring your balance less than Rs.20. I also think they will now charge some amount for non usage every month on inactivate SIM to prevent deactivation and balance falls below Rs.20 forget your number!

  • Amit Sarkar February 23, 2013 5:23 pm

    If my balance is Rs.20/- but non-usage more than 90 days then is this a deactivation condition or not ?

  • Jagannath:West Bengal February 23, 2013 4:59 pm

    Finally TRAI make some noise and decide a perfect match for customers. But to have 20 rs balance u have to reacharge more than 20 rupees. Means if u want to activate ur sim ur mail balance should be recharged by 30r. So this is also a term and conditions.

  • abhay shekhawat February 23, 2013 4:18 pm

    operter deactivats in 2 months bcoz they think that after 3 month subscriber wil do mnp

  • jeevi09 February 23, 2013 4:00 pm

    When one does not use his mobile, there is no need to keep the number active. But one must know about the deactivation process. I was abroad for 5 months with IDEA connection. When coming back I was receving only incoming calls no out going calls. I recharged it with 47/- . It was not credited. But receiving incoming calls. Instead of going around IDEA customer care service, I threw the sim away.

  • binu February 23, 2013 3:53 pm

    Provider il deduct ur balnce via value added service , u cnt keep 20rs min blnce,

    • Anirban Das February 23, 2013 4:03 pm

      Good thinking.

    • AsitPaul February 23, 2013 4:31 pm

      If they deduct Balance and activate VAS, that means ur number is Active. No fear of De-Activation!

      • Anirban Das February 23, 2013 8:29 pm

        Great thinking,
        Still, You have to check after 1-2 month,balance is still remaining or not.

    • dskushwaha February 23, 2013 4:37 pm

      Amazing thoght

  • sivavathanan February 23, 2013 3:44 pm

    Hi this is siva i want to change for your mts network .i followed customer care they not said proper answer to me they all said every fellows please wait for two days we send mail to our headoffice but rectified but now also not i got for port message reply .when i get port message reply .im very about of this network my no 9840660865 kindly arrange soon for port sms reply i following four past four month

  • Dhillon February 23, 2013 2:03 pm

    They will put some VAS service on and than deduct your balance make it lesser than 20RS.

  • SS February 23, 2013 1:28 pm

    Operators are definitely going to find some workaround for this order. Also operators have policy of deactivating numbers who haven’t done a minimum recharge of Rs.200.
    btw, 90 days period is good for customers.
    My vodafone number got deactivated after 60 days of non usage but that doesn’t mind me as my balance was -45 Rs. but the SIM cost was 399 Rs

  • Esmail February 23, 2013 1:14 pm

    Most operators state that a subscriber has to do a minimum recharge of Rs.200 in a continuous span of 6 months to keep the number active, failing which he may lose the number. Why does the regulation not throw adequate light on this clause?

    • Sougata Das February 23, 2013 2:33 pm

      I agree with you, Min recharge of 200 for 6 months. Again there will be more complicated .

    • pinkson February 13, 2014 1:58 am

      Is it not a high way robery by moble operators to ask for charging Rs 200 every 6 monts and mandatory to consume it. How come the consumer exploitation is not being addressed by TRAI. Further it is agreed that Rs 20 is the minimum over head cost for maintaing a mobile number for the operators. when it come in millions the cost could be down too. Even after TRAI guide line, keeping above Rs 200/- is still not enough,if continued inactivity for a period of 4 months. The people going abroad on tour / work etc is put in lot of trouble ,since voice call or sms will be subject to International monthly ren and individual call/sms chages. The voice call/SMS abroad mobile is economical than use Indian mobile. It is seen that customer service keep sending sms asking to recharge or they will stop service. It looks like There is no proper rule for discconnection of mobile. Further The help desk seems to have learned to speak few purticular words and very limited set of action.

  • Fahad February 23, 2013 12:33 pm

    Looks like we are going to sail in the right direction… At least A student will be benefited with this rule..
    Thumbs up

  • Arup Ghosh February 23, 2013 12:28 pm

    Very good move by TRAI , People having multiple sims will not fear of getting deactivated.

  • Tharun George February 23, 2013 12:18 pm

    Very very good move. Some operators make lots of money by sim deactivation.