TRAI asks operators to cease misleading ads

Telecom regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has asked operators not to present misleading advertisements of their tariff plans, while directing them to show recurring charges to consumers under single head.

'No tariff plan should be offered, presented, marketed or advertised in a manner that is likely to mislead the subscribers,' TRAI said in its Consumers' Handbook on Telecommunications.

All monthly fixed recurring charges, which are compulsory for a subscriber, should be shown under one head, it added.

'The service providers also have to publish all the tariff plans in prescribed formats in at least one regional language and one English newspaper at an interval not more than six months,' the TRAI said in the handbook.

Besides, telecom operators can't increase tariffs of subscriber plans for six months from the enrolment date but they are free to reduce call rates at the same time, sectoral regulator TRAI on Friday said.

'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,' TRAI said.

However, for any tariff plan, the operator is free to reduce tariffs at any time but 'no tariff item in a tariff plan can be increased by the service provider,' it added.

The move gives the subscribers the freedom to change plans during the six month period and the operator is mandated to accept the request and implement it.

'The subscriber shall be free to choose any other tariff plan, even during the said six months period. All requests for change of plan shall be accepted and implemented immediately or from the next billing cycle,' TRAI added.
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