Telecom regulator Trai is likely to recommend tighter norms for international SIM card and global calling card companies, and favour refund to customers in case of service failure during an overseas travel. If the recommendations being worked on by Trai are accepted by the Telecom Department, erring companies will have to cough-up refunds and compensation to customers in case their calling card does not work when they are abroad. The move by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) follows detailed discussions with international SIM card and global calling card companies, earlier this year.
The discussion between regulator and players was held after an SMS-based survey initiated by the regulator revealed that nearly half the consumers who used such services claimed it worked partially or did not work at all. “Trai will be recommending tighter checks on these companies, including a monitoring mechanism on how much business are they doing, how many cards are they selling…,” a person familiar with the matter said. The recommendations will also talk about refunds (for pre-paid) and compensation (for post-paid users) in case the card does not work, the source said but did not divulge the extent of compensation.
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Other measures being mulled by the regulator includes 24-hour call centre support. “Technically there are enough ways to establish the veracity of customer’s claim that a particular card did not indeed work,” the source added. In the SMS-based survey a few months back, the regulator had asked consumers whether their international SIM cards worked when they were abroad. Close to 50 per cent of the people had responded saying their cards worked. Of the rest, nearly 30 per cent said it did not work at all and 20 per cent said it worked only partially.
These instances of unsatisfactory service quality had prompted the regulator to call for a meeting with the companies and seek an explanation from them. In March this year, Trai met 8-9 players and asked them to explain the reason for the poor service. It asked companies the reason for service failure, enquiring if the glitches were to do with the SIM cards, or connectivity problem at the level of local country operator, or if the customer did not follow proper procedure for dialling. A few operators who were part of that Trai meeting then included Matrix, Uniconnect and Oneworld Teleservices.