TRAI Worried Over Less Usage Of USSD Based Mobile Banking; Floats Consultation Paper!
As of now, there are 22.5 crore Jan Dhan bank accounts in India, more than 100 crore Aadhaar Cards have been issued, and more than 100 crore Indians have a mobile phone. But still, usage of USSD or Unstructured Supplementary Service Data based mobile banking service is not expanding as per Govt.’s expectations.
TRAI is worried because in the month of May, 2016, only 37 lakh mobile banking requests via USSD reached NPCI’s platform. In order to find out what is stopping Indians from using USSD based mobile banking services, TRAI has floated a new consultation paper to seek feedback and suggestions.
TRAI has said, “Clearly, something is amiss. The situation demands a comprehensive review to ensure that the service which has successfully delivered in other countries does not fall short of expectations in India..”
The issue is serious for TRAI, because under JAM Trinity, Govt. aims to connect bank accounts (Jan Dhan accounts), Aadhaar Cards and mobile services into one platform. But due to low usage of USSD, the future plans are not being finalized.
USSD are those messages which can be used via short-codes such as *222# for knowing the pre-paid balance of your mobile account. These messages cant be stored inside the mobile and right now, every telecom player uses USSD for sending out data usage alert, and other information to their users.
Using USSD for mobile banking services such as knowing current balance, funds transfer, issuing a new cheque book etc hasn’t really picked up in India due to several reasons.
The cost of such USSD messages is one of the most prominent ones as it costs Rs 1.5 per session (which is capped by TRAI).
In the consultation paper, TRAI said, “Clearly, the present tariff per USSD session for mobile banking offered by TSPs (telecom service providers) is several times higher than the average tariff for — a Minute of outgoing voice call, or an outgoing SMS, or an MB of data transfer”
Telecom firms have opposed to lower down the price.
Now, the main question arises: Who should pay for the USSD charges? Should the banks and the telecom firms share the cost or the end-user has to be bear the expenses.
TRAI has notified: “Stakeholders are requested to furnish their written comments by 31st August, 2016 and counter-comments by 14th September, 2016 to the Advisor (F&EA), TRAI. The comments and counter-comments may also be sent by e-mail to [email protected]”
Launch of Twitter Sewa
Meanwhile, Minister of State for Communications (Independent Charge), Manoj Sinha launched ‘Twitter Sewa’ for addressing concerns related with telephones, mobiles, Internet and India Post. Customers can follow his Twitter handle: @manojsinhabjp and share their grievances which would be immediately handled by the concerned persons.
— Manoj Sinha (@manojsinhabjp) August 2, 2016
As per reports, Telecom Ministry and Department of Post would both work together and sort out the problems received via Tweets. Complains related to both public and private telecom companies, ISPs and India Post can be shared on this handle.