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Trai’s decision to charge for numbers will increase costs for users, telcos warn

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In Short:

Telecom industry executives in Mumbai are concerned about potential charges for numbering resources allocated to telecom companies by the regulator. They believe that these charges will be passed on to users, as SIM cards and phone numbers are a necessity. TRAI suggests disincentivizing telcos to address inefficient use of numbers. However, experts suggest defining ‘inactive connection’ and setting a cut-off period for reallocation as a better solution.

Telecom Companies warn against TRAI’s Proposal to Charge for Numbering Resources

Industry Executives Express Concern over Potential Cost Burden on Subscribers

In response to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) contemplation of charging telecom companies for numbering resources allocated to them, industry executives caution that this move may not effectively address inefficient use of mobile connections. Instead, they anticipate that such charges would ultimately be passed on to users.

Concerns Over Inefficient Use of Numbering Resources

TRAI’s data reveals that over 219.14 million numbers, approximately 19% of total mobile connections, are currently categorized as ‘service suspended pending disconnection.’ This inefficiency, as highlighted by TRAI, could be addressed by disincentivizing telcos.

TRAI’s recent consultation paper emphasized the need to prioritize the efficient utilization of numbering resources and suggested considering charging telecom service providers with a nominal fee against such allocations. This fee could be structured as a one-time charge, annual recurring charge, or disincentive for unutilized resources.

Concerns Over Potential Impact on Subscribers

Industry experts argue that charging for numbering resources could lead to additional costs for subscribers, as telecom companies may pass on these charges to consumers. They also point out that Indian telcos are already contributing a portion of adjusted gross revenue to the government, making the proposed charges an extra financial burden.

Alternative Suggestions

Experts recommend alternative solutions, such as defining ‘inactive connections’ and establishing a clear cut-off period for reallocation of such numbers, as more effective ways to address the challenges of inefficient use of numbering resources.

Overall, industry executives stress the need for careful consideration and dialogue to ensure that any regulatory measures do not inadvertently impact consumers or add unnecessary financial strain on telecom companies.

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