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Mobile phone companies to seek written consent before activating value-added services [Telecom] [Times of India]
[January 16, 2013]

Mobile phone companies to seek written consent before activating value-added services [Telecom] [Times of India]

(Times of India Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) NEW DELHI: Mobile phone companies will have to seek written consent from consumers before activating value-added services such as caller tunes, cricket updates etc.

All telcos would have to seek mandatory consent of a customer - through email, SMS, fax or in writing - before activating any VAS that is chargeable or which was free earlier and has become chargeable now, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's secretary Rajeev Agrawal said on Monday. The telcos has been asked to follow the new norms by February 2.

Trai added it will issue guidelines on deactivation of mobile connections that are no longer in use by March. Telcos have been discontinuing services for a mobile connection that remain unused for more than two months. Last month, Trai had sought comments from all operators and stakeholders on the issue. It had added that arbitrary disconnections were affecting consumers who did not use their connections for some time but wanted to get back and found the service disconnected.

Trai had stated in a consultation paper that around 200 million SIMs had been inactive for over a certain period of time and the total balance on that account is Rs 128.9 crore. Agrawal added that Trai will continue to allow mobile phone companies to fix tariff prices as call tariffs in India were still 'competitive'.

Lobby groups representing mobile phone companies have been warning of an impending increase in tariffs as they would not be able to continue to operate on wafer-thin margins and eroding profits. At the same time, the government has sought more than Rs 20,000 crore by implementing a one-time fee on spectrum that all telcos hold.

(c) 2013 Bennett, Coleman & Company Limited

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