TRAI today nudged mobile operators to launch at least one data plan with up to one year validity after it found that most of the telcos did not roll out such long-validity packs despite being permitted. The “advisory” from Trai to telecom operators comes nearly 10 months after the regulator permitted increase in validity for mobile data packs to 365 days against maximum of 90 days initially.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) recently conducted a review of long-term validity mobile data packs (or special tariff voucher as they are often called) offered to customers by telecom service providers.
“It is noticed that while a few operators have launched pure data STVs (special tariff voucher) with validity up to 365 days, till now most operators have either prescribed conditions of subsequent recharges for extending data benefit for 12 months or have not launched any pure data STV with validity of more than 90 days,” Trai said in its advisory.
The regulator today pointedly reminded the operators that request for allowing longer validity data vouchers had come from the industry itself. Trai had expected that its permission would prompt all service providers to launch such vouchers. “…all telecom service providers are advised to implement at least one STV with single payment providing exclusive data benefit with validity of 365 days,” Trai said.
The rationale behind allowing longer validity data packs was that it would boost data usage by marginal consumers and also attract first-time internet users. This is because, consumers purchasing such vouchers would be able to use their data for a longer period, that is, upto one year against 90 days.
A Trai official said that the regulator would once again review the situation after a month or two and decide on the future course of action based on the operators’ response to its advisory.