Cell Players Dial Each Other To Blacklist Defaulting Subscribers

Chennai: | Updated: Jun 27 2003, 05:30am hrs
After banks and credit card companies, it is now the turn of mobile telecom service providers to cooperate on checking the increasing menace of subscribers who dont pay their bills. The companies, under the aegis of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), have reportedly initiated a process that would ultimately take defaulting subscribers to task. The arrangement, it is said, would include sharing of defaulters information among the service providers.

The move to share the defaulters list among mobile telcos comes in the wake of increasing number of willful defaulters who are taking service providers for a ride. The modus operandi of rogue subscribers is to take a connection from any of the cellular companies operating in their circle and after running up a huge bill move to another service provider at will.

The catalyst for the move, according to industry sources, is the recent spurt in the incidence of duping the cell telcos by certain anti-social elements who used false or forged documents to get connected and vanish after running up bills worth several lakhs of rupees.

Sources in COAI told eFE that the association had revived the move to share defaulters information among mobile companies on the lines of credit card and bank defaulters.

The idea is to use the information to blacklist such persons from their subscriber lists and would also help aggrieved companies take legal action against defaulters.

COAI had originally initiated the move some time back, but the reluctance of cellular companies, locked in fierce competition, had literally blocked the move. It has now become apparent to all players that sharing information about defaulters will provide a win-win situation for all players. However, there is still a long way to go before it materialises, an industry insider said.

However, some companies have still not made up their mind to share the information about their subscribers and say that they are not aware of any such move. We have our own mechanism to recover dues and check misuse of our connections. We are not aware of any such move by the industry so far, a senior RPG official said.

The protagonists of the move seem to be the state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd which, of late, has been hit hard by the defaulter menace.

BSNL is reportedly stuck with bills worth several crores of rupees in the southern circles, where it launched it operations only recently. The company was duped by rogue subscribers who had taken connection using forged documents elsewhere and later changed the billing address to some remote areas in south India.