TRAI Scolds Airtel, Jio, Vodafone, MTNL For Validity Extension Plans; Not All Users Are Getting Benefits?
Last month, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had requested the telecom operators to extend the validity period of prepaid users so that the subscribers can get uninterrupted services without worrying about the recharge amidst the 21-day nationwide lockdown.
The telecom regulator has dragged Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea, Reliance Jio and state-run MTNL for selectively extending the validity of prepaid users during the Covid-19 lockdown as many 2G prepaid users across India still remain without connectivity and are unable to recharge.
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Validity Period of Prepaid Users Extended!
The TRAI had sent separate but identical letters on April 7 to the telcos Airtel, Jio, VIL and MTNL to accelerate the corrective measures in order to ensure uninterrupted services to all prepaid users during the lockdown. It has also sought an immediate compliance report from the telcos.
The telecom regulator said in the letters, “Airtel and VIL had followed a selective approach in giving relaxation to subscribers in extending the validity and giving a credit of Rs 10 to each subscriber, and as a result all the 2G subscribers were not covered and are facing hardships in absence of any recharge facilities.”
TRAI said ‘Airtel and VIL had followed a selective approach’ in giving relaxation to subscribers in extending the validity and giving a credit of Rs 10 to 100 million users across the country. Hence ‘all the 2G subscribers were not covered and are facing hardships’ in absence of any recharge facilities.
How the Telcos are Helping Its Users Amidst the Lockdown!
Vodafone Idea announced on April 5, 2020 that it had activated a prepaid recharge facility via ATMs for all its customers during this lockdown period. It also announced extending the validity of its prepaid plans till April 17, 2020 for its customers who are using feature phones. Vodafone Idea has also announced an SMS recharge facility for those who are unable to access online services. This facility however, is only available to ICICI Bank and Axis Bank customers.
Bharti Airtel has initiated ways for its subscribers to recharge their mobile numbers via grocery and pharmacy stores, like Big Bazaar and Apollo pharmacies. It recently announced that it would extend the validity of its prepaid subscribers till April 17. The telco has also credited Rs 10 talktime to its low-income customers.
Meanwhile, Reliance Jio, had announced that it will give 100 minutes of calls and SMS free of cost to its JioPhone users. It has also announced that their users’ numbers won’t be suspended, if they don’t recharge their numbers.
State-run telecom carrier, BSNL has also extended the validity of all prepaid users till April 20th. It has also provided all its users Rs 10 free talktime.