Trai on Monday issued an advisory to the telecom operators for offering data special tariff vouchers (STVs) with a validity of 365 days as it aims to boost usage by encouraging the first time data users. “The Authority has sent an advisory to the telecom operators today for implementing at least one STV with a single payment providing exclusive data benefits for 365 days,” an official source said.
Trai in the advisory said that it has discovered that only a few telecom operators have launched pure data STVs with a year’s validity, while most have either prescribed conditions of subsequent recharges for extending data benefits for 12 months or have not launched any such pure data STVs with 365 days validity.
All the operators had requested for such pure data STVs during the consultation process last year and now it has been found that not many are interested. Hence the advisory, the official said.
Last year, telecom operators had requested the regulator for longer validity of data packs, STVs with only data benefits, primarily to address concerns of consumers who prefer lower denomination data packs with longer validity.
In August 2016, Trai had notified the 10th amendment to the Telecom Consumers Protection Regulations (TCPR), allowing a maximum validity of 365 days for data-only STVs instead of the earlier validity of 90 days. This amendment was made so that first time data users could be encouraged to use mobile broadband as the compulsion to charge intermittently is reduced.
Another issue is that many consumers, who have recently started using mobile internet, usually consume less data and a significant portion of their volume remains unutilised at the time of expiry date and this unutilised data in their data-pack is forfeited. It results in a higher effective price per MB and impacts their interest in using mobile data services, a senior telecom ministry official explained.
Such specific data STVs will encourage these subscribers to use more data as they can easily consume it over a period of a year, the official added.