Telecom regulator Trai has initiated debate on the issue of operators
arbitrarily disconnecting services of customers on the grounds of
'non-usage of numbers' or 'inactive SIM connections'.
information provided by telecom operators to the Telecom Regulatory
Authority of India, around 20 crore SIMs were inactive for over a
certain period of time and the total balance on that account stood at Rs.
Trai has said that telecom subscribers at various
forums have represented that their mobile connections were being
disconnected arbitrarily by telecom operators.
"Deactivation of a
SIM without prior intimation and on arbitrary grounds deprives the
subscriber of his mobile number which might have been an identity for
him for a long time," said Trai's consultation paper on the issue.
a result, consumers suffer from a potential loss of activity in both
personal and professional set-ups causing an adverse impact on
"While some consumers complained against the practice
of deactivation of SIMs without prior intimation to them by their TSPs
(Telecom Service Providers) when they were travelling in India or
abroad, other subscribers lamented about disconnection of their
life-time prepaid connections within a very short period of non-usage,"
Telecom operators in their meetings with Trai have said
that they have to deactivate SIMs to efficiently manage number series
(mobile phone numbers) allocated to them by the Department of Telecom.
said it has found that telecom operators do not follow common criteria
to disconnect inactive SIMs but added that "to manage their numbering
resources better, the service providers have proposed to follow a
procedure for deactivating mobile connections which are not used for a
In July 2011, DoT started allocating number series to telecom operators on the basis of active users on their network.
while carrying out such deactivations, the customers should be informed
transparently and those customers who wish to retain their connections
even while not using them should have the option to do so on payment of a
connection retention fee," it added.
Trai cited that its order on
tariff plan with lifetime or unlimited validity "requires any
subscriber to recharge" his mobile phone account "with any specified
minimum amount within specified time periods" during validity of the
"...to keep the said tariff plan valid, such specified time
period or interval, shall, in no case, be less than six months," the
Trai has fixed December 21 as last date for
comments on this consultation paper, and December 28 as last date for