Vodafone India has sought more time from sectoral regulator TRAI to stop using ‘111’ for its customer care services, citing inconvenience to subscribers from any immediate stoppage.
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had asked Vodafone on March 2 to stop use of ‘111’ number as it violated the national numbering plan. Vodafone was asked to submit a compliance report by March 10.
“We have received a reply from Vodafone to our direction and the matter is currently being examined,” a Trai official said.
According to the official, Vodafone has said that ‘111’ is being used by all its subscribers for customer care service, and it was difficult to stop its use in 10-12 days.
“They have sought more time to close the use of 111,” the official added.
Vodafone did not reply to queries in this regard.
As per TRAI’s direction to the company, the Department of Telecom had issued the ‘National Numbering Plan 2003’ wherein the numbers 111 to 115 were not allocated for any type of services and they had been kept as ‘spare’.
However, the regulator found that Vodafone on its website was urging its customers to call ‘111’ to get internet settings on their handset for pre-paid data offers, postpaid 3G data packs, self help for data services, Blackberry internet offers and to find out the balance.
Subsequently, it had issued a show cause notice on February 2 to Vodafone for violation of the National Numbering Plan.
In reply to TRAI’s notice, Vodafone had said on February 18 that ‘111’ number was in use by them for the last 18-20 years and they believed there was no restriction on its use as the number was already under valid use prior to 2003 as a common customer care number across all the circles.
After examining Vodafone’s reply, TRAI said that “by using level ‘111’ without the permission of the licensor, the service provider has contravened the national numbering plan and filing annual compliance report to the regulations of the Authority cannot be treated as authorisation to use level ‘111’.”