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TRAI wants telcos to offer benefits until May 3

Recently, telecom operators have extended the validity of the prepaid plans, so people can stay connected during the lockdown. However, India’s nationwide lockdown has been extended. Now, it has been reported that the telecom regulator TRAI wants operators to provide all benefits until May 3.

“It’s for them to come forward and announce an extension of the offers for prepaid customers since the lockdown period is now extended,” a senior official of TRAI was quoted by ET.

Last month, private players such as Reliance Jio, Airtel, and Vodafone-Idea extended the validity of the prepaid plans. Apart from extending the validity, the operators announced free talk time to their 80 to 100 million customers. In addition, Reliance Jio has launched plans for its JioPhone customers. The telco has announced that it is offering 100 minutes for calling and 100 messages until April 17.

The operators have also come up with new strategies, where they are offering a commission to those users who help others in recharging their prepaid mobile numbers. Both Airtel and Reliance Jio are offering a 4 percent commission, while Vodafone has announced that it will offer a 6 percent cash back to its users under its “Recharge for good” initiative. Similarly, Airtel has joined hands with Apollo 24/7 to launch a self-assessment tool on its app.

“Operators will continue to monitor the situation and decide on appropriate means to meet the needs of customers,” Rajan S Mathews, director-general of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said. The firm said that the ministry should offer them subsidies via Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) which is close to Rs. 51,500 crore.

On the other hand, TRAI wants operators to submit the details of those users who have received the free talk time. It is worth mentioning that COAI recently said that operators have provided over Rs. 600 crore benefits to prepaid users.


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