No Airtel, Voda Sim Will Be Disconnected If Minimum Recharge Not Done: TRAI
Since last few weeks, Vodafone and Airtel have created an unnecessary panic as well as confusion among telecom users, by shooting repeated messages about monthly recharges.
According to the warning by the telcos to users, even incoming messages would be blocked, and the entire mobile number will be out of service. TRAI now has finally taken a stand and sent out a letter to the biggest telcos in the country namely, Vodafone and Airtel. In the letter, TRAI has warned telcos over their ambitious plan to increase ARPU (Average Revenue Per User), by forcing users with 28-day recharges.
This action was much needed by TRAI to make the telcos realise that the users cannot be taken for a ride. So let’s first find out what the fuss is all about. Basically, in their letter, TRAI has made it very clear that unless or until the user has the talk time which is equivalent to the minimum recharge of at least Rs 35, they cannot disconnect SIMs, and block incoming calls. In their letter to Airtel and Vodafone. TRAI mentioned in the letter that the telcos first need to educate the customer about this new strategy and scheme.
TRAI has ordered that within 3 days, every prepaid user should be familiar with the main topics including the last day of the current plan, how to avoid disconnection and all the details about the minimum recharge plans.
However, at the same time, TRAI has made it clear that they won’t intervene in the actual tariff structures, as telecom operators are responsible for the same. However, disconnecting SIMs if minimum recharge not done is not correct, if the user has that amount.
RS Sharma, Chairman, TRAI stated in his official statement, “Tariff and plans are under forbearance and we don’t generally intervene. But if there is sufficient money in the account and despite that people are being told that the services will be disconnected, it is not correct.”
Both Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea will have to bring in a lot of money to repair their balance sheets—while Vodafone Idea has had a negative interest cover for five quarters due to bit losses, Bharti Airtel’s India business has been in this situation since the September quarter; this is why it was put on a ratings watch by Moody’s last month—right now, the telco is just above junk rating.