The telecom regulator has issued an order directing Vodafone to stop using 111 number on its network. As per TRAI, Vodafone has violated national numbering plan which prohibits uses of numbers from 100-115 for operator services.
DOT issued the national numbering plan in 2003 and kept numbers from 111-115 as spare for future use. While numbers like '100', ‘101’ and ‘102’ for Police, Fire and Ambulance services respectively.
As per TRAI, Vodafone has used on their website advertisement asked customers to dial 111 to get internet settings, pre-paid data offers, post-paid 3G data packs, self-help for data services, Blackberry Internet offers and to find out the balance. The regulator termed this as violated national numbering plan and directed Vodafone India to discontinue use of ‘111’ and submit compliance report latest by March 10.
In reply to previous show cause notice by TRAI, Vodafone stated that '111' number had been in use by them for the last 18-20 years and that they were in genuine belief that there was no restriction in its use as the number was already under valid use prior to 2003 as a common customer care number across all the circles. Vodafone also said that they have been transparently filing their annual compliance with the Authority in regards to the use of this level of their customer help services since 2007.
However TRAI rejected this as it believes "by using level '111' without the permission of the licensor, the service provider has contravened the national numbering plan and filing annual compliance report to the regulations of the Authority cannot be treated as authorization to use level '111'."