comscore Reliance Communications seeks withdrawal of TRAI directive on subscriber refund
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Reliance Communications seeks withdrawal of TRAI directive on subscriber refund

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is, however, of the view that the demand on customer refunds is fully justified as it pertains to premature closure of services by an operator, and therefore, cannot not be equated with general network port outs cases.

  • Published: February 5, 2018 10:06 AM IST
reliance-jio-mukesh-ambani-screengrab

Reliance Communications has opposed the telecom regulator’s directive asking the company to refund unspent balance of mobile subscribers, in the wake of discontinuation of its voice services. Also Read - Airtel Rs 79 plan vs JioPhone Rs 75 prepaid plan compared: Which offers better value?

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is, however, of the view that the demand on customer refunds is fully justified as it pertains to premature closure of services by an operator, and therefore, cannot not be equated with general network port outs cases. Also Read - Reliance JioFiber plans with free Voot Select subscription: Check plans, price, and other benefits

A senior TRAI official told PTI that since it is the case of a service provider closing services the “customers must get their unspent balance”. Also Read - JioFiber broadband plans with free Netflix subscription: Check plans, price, data benefits, more

“The situation is not similar to general port out by a consumer, where consumer chooses the timing of porting out from one network to another network.

Here, a service provider has closed services and therefore protection of consumer interest is a must” added the official who did not wish to be named.

Reliance Communications (RCom) declined to respond to an email query on the issue.

However, sources familiar with the development said that the service provider has shot off a letter to TRAI arguing against the regulator s January 19 directive on refunds.

In the letter, RCom has cited the Mobile Number Portability Regulations 2009 to highlight that the existing rules mention that the balance amount of talktime at the time of porting “shall lapse”, the source pointed out.

“We regret to say that we are unaware of the exact regulation under which a provision exists for refund of balance amount of talk time on a mobile number being ported out for any reason whatsoever … we request authority to withdraw the direction … ” the source said quoting from RCom s written representation to TRAI.

Meanwhile, RCom is preparing another follow up letter to TRAI where it has further argued that there is no precedence of customer refunds being sought in several other cases of operators closing down services in the Indian telecom market.

On January 19, the TRAI had directed Reliance Communications (RCom) and Reliance Telecom (RTL) to refund the unused balance of their prepaid customers and security deposits of their post-paid subscribers and report compliance in the coming weeks.

The direction for refund is “pursuant to closure of 2G/GSM, CDMA services and discontinuation of voice services in all the licensed services areas by Reliance Communications Limited (RCL) and Reliance Telecom Limited”.

The move comes at a time when RCom has announced plans to sell its spectrum, towers, optical fibre network and other wireless assets to Reliance Jio, the telecom firm of elder brother Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries.

The industry estimates the blockbuster deal to be valued at Rs 24,000-25,000 crore.

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  • Published Date: February 5, 2018 10:06 AM IST



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