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'Lifetime validity is life of license, not consumers'

Cellular operators define 'lifetime validity schemes' as good only for the lifetime of their licences and not that of customers.

india Updated: Feb 06, 2006 18:48 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

That nothing lasts forever was proved again on Monday with cellular operators defining their 'lifetime validity schemes' as good only for the lifetime of their licences and not that of customers.

With the term lifetime spelling out different connotation for different categories of people like customers, operators, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has stated: "The lifetime plans of the cellular operators can only be offered during the lifetime of their license and to that extent the lifetime plans of different operators will vary in their validity duration.

"The service providers cannot commit to service offering beyond the lifetime of their license."

Licences are issued for a period of 20 years. This means, an operator who received a licence 10 years ago would be able to offer the scheme only for another decade.

COAI's clarification came in response to TRAI's request for views on whether lifetime could exceed the balance license period of the operators and if not, would the plans vary in their validity duration.

The association has also called for flexibility in these plans as and when required due to regulatory and liecensing requirement, saying: "the tariff plans that have been introduced by the operators have been structured keeping in view the prevalent licensing and regulatory regime, including the prevalent Interconnect Usage Charges regime and any substantial change in the regime may necessitate a change in the tariff package offered by the service providers."

The Authority should use this opportunity to transparently share the principles and parameters on which it assesses the tariff plans of operators.

This will not only help operators to structure their plans to be in compliance with norms, but will also introduce a measure of self regulation into the market.

On the issue of whether these tariff schemes with lifetime validity have long-term viability and sustainability, it said: "At least six months are required to come to a reasonable conclusion on the viability of any tariff plan that is introduced by a service provider."

First Published: Feb 06, 2006 18:48 IST