According to the Telecom Consumer Protection (11th amendment) Regulations 2020, issued Wednesday, the authority said, “considering the fact that the tariffs for IMR Service have been evolving in response to market dynamics and increasing prevalence of IMR Packs, as of now there is no need for any direct intervention in the form of price regulation of IMR Service.”
India’s number 1 operator Reliance Jio Infocomm, had lobbied for the rationalisation of IMR tariffs due to observed large difference between standard rates and pack tariffs which was also questioned by Trai in its consultation paper, released this May.
As per analyst estimates, Jio’s revenues from international roaming are less than half of that of Airtel and Vodafone Idea.
Though the authority is unsatisfied with explanations from operators, it has abstained from putting any price regulations as of now. It has, however, mandated certain disclosures to the customers such as information about applicable tariffs, data usage alerts, country covered under the subscribed pack etc.
Trai has also asked operators to keep user’s SIM inactive by default while travelling in a foreign land unless requested by the customer for activation. This is to prevent bill shocks as customers are not aware that background apps consume data without any intended use.
For selection of tariffs offered in the visiting country, operators must provide details of foreign operators, measures in place to protect the users and actions to be taken by them via SMS, email and apps.
They must also be alerted when the data usage exceeds 50%, 80% 90% and 100% of the data entitlement.
In case, a customer is travelling to another country which is not covered by his subscribed pack, the operator must alert the same and advise on available options in the new country.
They shall also establish or allot a separate toll free short code to enable the consumers to seek, through SMS, the amount billed or charged for IMR.