TRAI has stopped the telecom companies - Bharti Airtel and Vodafone and Idea to stop warning their subscribers about ceasing their services if prepaid accounts are not recharged with the minimum required balance price.
There are a lot of complaints being received by TRAI regarding the SMS that customers receive insisting mandatory recharge with minimum price for all prepaid accounts. The SMS states that the telecom service shall be discontinued if the user does not maintain the minimum balance in their account.
On 26th November, TRAI and telecom companies had a detailed discussion in this regard where the telecom companies were instructed to provide detailed information in this regard to all the customers in another 3 days.
TRAI clearly states that it is assessing the inputs so far received from the service providers. The telecom companies are informed to roll out clear text messages about the expiry of validity.
This SMS should contain details including the list of available plans, and the minimum recharge plan that the user could opt for.
Furthermore, TRAI instructs telecoms not to deactivate SIM cards that do not get recharged within the given deadline as long as the account maintains the minimum balance to equalize the minimum recharge plan as required by the tariff plan.
This TRAI instruction comes amidst the instructions that Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea have announced about weeding out the customers who choose to have minimum balance just to receive incoming phone calls and not sufficient enough for outgoing calls which ultimately brings down the ARPU (Average Revenue per User). So, the minimum recharge plan fixed by the telecom providers is Rs 35.
So, meeting the changing market trends, Vodafone Idea has got its prepaid plans simpler to make it convenient for the customers. They have got integrated prepaid plans which have bunched up talk time and tariff. This is easier for the customers to understand and avail, says a spokesperson.
Across all the cities, these plans are rolled out. They are in communication with the customers in this regard. They are informing about the new change and also providing necessary customer care services, company sources say.
There is no response from Bharti Airtel when mails are sent seeking doubts and queries.
Following the entry of Reliance Jio back in September 2016, there are severe pressure and revenue troubles and profitability issues faced by Vodafone India and Idea Cellular (the merger duo) and Bharti Airtel.
Pertaining to the July-September quarter, the fall in ARPU for Vodafone Idea is reported to be 4.7 percent which accounts to Rs 88, and with Bharti Airtel, it is 4.3 percent accounting to Rs 100.8. On the other hand, a higher ARPU is quoted by Reliance Jio is observed which is 2 percent accounting to Rs 131.7.