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.
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 :
- The mobile connections of prepaid consumers shall not be deactivated for any period of non-usage less than 90 days;
- 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.
- There shall be no deactivation if the balance in prepaid consumer account is Rs.20/- or more.
- An ‘Automatic Number Retention Scheme’ shall be implemented for prepaid consumers on payment of reasonable charges.
- A consumer whose connection is deactivated shall be given a grace period of 15 days within which he can reactivate the same number;.
- Consumers shall be transparently communicated the terms and conditions of deactivation of SIMs due to non-usage.
- 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.