The government has started the process for selecting a new chairman for telecom regulator TRAI whose present chief Rahul Khullar’s term ends in mid-May. Also Read - TRAI's new SMS regulations will prevent spam, fraudulent messages: Here's how
“The post of Chairman, TRAI, will be falling vacant on May 14, 2014. The tenure of post is for a term not exceeding three years or till the age of 65 years,” the government said while inviting applications for the post. The last date for applying is April 9. Government employees wishing to apply will have to take retirement from their current positions. Khullar took early retirement from his position of Commerce Secretary before taking charge as telecom regulator on May 14, 2012. Khullar assumed charge at a time when the telecom sector was in doldrums following cancellation of 122 2G licences by Supreme Court of India. Also Read - Starlink satellite broadband service faces challenge in India, Elon Musk led company questioned
His first task was to work on TRAI’s recommendations for spectrum auction price while safeguarding interest of consumers from expected tariff hike. After a muted response to the spectrum auction held in November 2012 that garnered bids of about Rs 9,407 crore only and failure of auctions in 2013, TRAI recommended lower prices for GSM spectrum auctions that were held in 2014, which attracted bids worth Rs 62,162 crore. Khullar has been successful in implementing long-pending refund rules for value-added services. Under the rules, telecom operators are now required to take explicit consent of subscribers before activating any value-added services like mobile internet, caller tune, entertainment alerts. They need to refund money if any value-added service has been activated without prior permission of consumers. Also Read - Airtel gains most mobile subscribers in January 2021 when compared to Jio, Vi: TRAI
Last month, TRAI took a series of steps to reduce tariff, especially for landline users. The benefits are yet to be passed on to consumers by telecom operators. In terms of policy, TRAI has given its recommendations on spectrum sharing and trading. It has also come out with new penalty norms for telecom operators which are yet to be implemented by government.