Lifetime validity schemes under TRAI scrutiny

Cellular lifetime validity euphoria may be short lived as TRAI initiates an exercise to go deep into the matter to see its viability.

india Updated: Jan 02, 2006 14:18 IST

The euphoria over the lifetime validity offered by all cellular operators may be short lived as the telecom regulator TRAI has initiated an exercise to go deep into the matter to see its viability.

TRAI has undertaken a suo motu exercise to see that whether the concept of lifetime validity, being offered by the mobile operators on pre-paid cards with one time entry fee, was viable and is likely to give its verdict in a day or so.

It is pertinent to mention that Tata Teleservices was the first player to offer two year validity on its pre-paid card and was strongly opposed by the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) saying it tantamount to predatory pricing.

However, no operator could stand losing the race in adding new subscribers to their fold and this virtually triggered tariff war among the service providers.

To begin with Sunil Mittal owned Bharti offering mobile services under Airtel brand launched lifetime validity card with one-time fee of Rs 999 followed by Hutch, Reliance Infocomm, Tatas and also by the state run companies MTNL and BSNL to join the war.

Tata-Birla owned Idea cellular went a step ahead of other by offering similar services in both pre-paid and post-paid segments raising doubt over the viability of these schemes.

"We will look into all aspects concerning these schemes and may take some action, if required," a top TRAI official told.

First Published: Jan 02, 2006 14:15 IST