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No more ISD facility by default for prepaid users

Prepaid mobile users would no longer get ISD facility by default - a practice being followed for years.

patna Updated: Dec 26, 2012 15:37 IST
Subhash Pathak

Prepaid mobile users would no longer get ISD facility by default - a practice being followed for years.

Dismissing the appeal of cellular operators association of India (Coai) against the telecom regulatory authority of India (Trai) for taking back the ISD facility from prepaid numbers, Telecom Dispute Sand Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) in its judgment ruled that the regulatorfs order was within its ambit.

Waking to frequent complaints from mobile users about receiving missed calls from other countries and huge deductions from their balance in case of return calls, Trai had, in September, issued guidelines to all access service providers (ASPs) to disconnect ISD facility within the next two months.

Trai had pointed out that it had been receiving complaints from prepaid mobile users receiving missed calls and scam calls from international numbers, pertaining to prizes or lotteries.

People were being charged very high rates for redialing the Wangiri calls, which literally means one ring and cut, as they are from premium numbers.

ASPs were also asked to issue advisory SMSes to subscribers to sensitise them about Wangiri calls at periodic intervals.

Trai order further directed all ASPs to deactivate ISD facility on prepaid SIM without the consent of the consumer.

Prepaid consumers having access to the ISD facility had to be informed through SMS in less than 10 days of date of issue of the directive that the ISD facility to them shall be discontinued after 60 days. If any consumer wishes to retain ISD facility, he or she should give explicit consent to avail the facility within 60 days of receiving the SMS.

Coai, however, went to TDSAT and challenged the Trai order.

Subsequently, TDSAT had stayed the application of the order till the settlement of the dispute, which was dismissed on November 8 in the judgment pronounced by member PK Rastogi.

In response to Trai order, Bihar circle of BSNL has already initiated action to withdraw ISD facility by asking the subscribers to give their explicit consent if they wanted to retain it.

Other operators will follow suit, telecom operatorsf officials said.

Trai advisor, Bihar licensing area, Arun Kumar said the ASAs had already been told to disconnect ISD facility without delay. 

As the time stipulated for completing the process of ISD disconnection has already expired, telecom operators would be asked to submit the status report soon, Kumar told HT.