Telecommunication tariff is one of the important issues concerning the consumers. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India act, 1979 therefore, specifically provides that the Authority may from time to time notify in the Official gazette the rates at which the telecommunication services shall be provided within India and outside. Accordingly, the Authority notified the first tariff order called the Telecommunication Tariff Order (TTO), 1999 in March 1999. During the course of the decade, the TTO 1999 has undergone several changes and amendments. One important development today is that except in the case of roaming and rural basic telephone (wire-Line) and lased circuits, tariff is under forbearance which means that the market forces and competition among the service provider would decide the rates at which telecommunication services are to be provided. Service providers would have flexibility to offer any tariff subject to certain regulatory principles, including interconnect usage charges (IUC) compliance.
Tariff issues concerning all the subscribers
Dew to so many complaints received by The Telecom Regulatory Authority, particularly from users of mobile phones regarding frequent changes in tariff plan, increase in tariff, misleading and confusing plans etc. in order to protect the consumer interest in such matters the Authority has brought about certain amendments to the Tariff Order of 1999 providing for protection against frequent changes in tariff plans, hike in tariff including lifetime tariffs etc. These amendments are applicable for both to prepaid as well as postpaid subscribers. Highlights of these amendment Orders are given below:
Protection against hike in tariff
A tariff plan once offered by an access provider shall be available to a subscriber for a minimum period of six months from the date of enrolment of the subscriber to that tariff plan.
The subscriber shall be free to choose any other tariff plan, even during the said six months period or the specified validity period. All requests for change of plan shall be accepted and implemented immediately or from the start of the next billing cycle.