Trai now allows special tariff vouchers with 365-days of validity

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has given its permission to special data vouchers with longer validity of 365 days, as compared to the current validity of 90 days, according to a report by wire service ANI. The regulator on Friday released the Telecom Consumers Protection (Tenth Amendment) Regulations, 2016 to change the regulation.

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In a statement, the telecom regulator said, “Requests were received in TRAI seeking longer validity of data-packs primarily to address the concern of marginal consumers of wireless Internet who prefer lower denomination data packs with longer validity.”

The current regulatory regime allows telecom service providers to offer data services in the form of special tariff vouchers either exclusively or in combination with other tariff items with a maximum permitted validity of 90 days.

India’s top telecom operators, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular have come up with a number of promotional offers to provide extra data usage, bundled with voice and digital services to counter Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio, which is able to intensify the competition through its promotional offer that provides free unlimited calling and free 4G data services, along with app-based content and utility services.

The introduction of Reliance Jio’s free offer in September—now extended till March 31, 2017, has caused a drastic fall in data rates for prepaid customers.

Recently, India’s leading telecom operator launched a new offer to provide 3GB of free data every month for a year to anyone who switched to an Airtel network by 28 February. The offer also applies to its existing customers buying new 4G handsets.

Idea Cellular, the country’s third largest telco, also followed suit with an offer of 3GB of data for free to anyone who upgraded to a new 4G handset.

These new plans by Airtel and Idea Cellular are said to be aimed at further driving 4G penetration amongst their respective users, and could also be seen as concerted bid to poach 4G customers from rivals.

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