The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued a directive to all telecom service providers regarding the provision of ISD facility to prepaid mobile customers, in a bid to curb the misleading lottery winning or prize winning calls and Wangiri phone calls from International numbers and protect the interests of prepaid subscribers in the country.
TRAI stated that the directive was issued following consumer complaints about missed calls from international phone numbers which is are usually premium numbers with high tariff, luring them to make return calls to these numbers and pay unintended call charges. The organization stated that it has also received several consumer complaints about calls and text messages from International numbers which alerts them of winning a prize or a lottery and enticing them to call a specific number to claim the prize money.
TRAI believes that certain unscrupulous elements are exploiting the pre-activated ISD facility on prepaid mobile numbers to lure consumers to make these ISD calls without knowledge and it has been talks with service providers and industry associations from October 2011, to formulate and implement certain measures to control this problem. Among the measures directed by TRAI to telcos include:
– Ensure that ISD facility is not pre-activated on any prepaid mobile number without the explicit consent of the consumer.
– Alert all its prepaid subscribers having ISD facility within 10 days from the issue date of this direction i.e. September 7, 2012, via SMS, that the ISD facility will be discontinued within the next 60 days and subscribers who want to continue having the ISD facility should give an explicit consent to the telco within sixty days of receiving the above mentioned SMS.
– Discontinue the ISD facility of all its prepaid subscribers who have not given explicit consent to continue the ISD facility, after 60 days of alerting its subscribers through SMS.
– Alert its subscribers via SMS within 10 days from the issue date of this direction, not to respond to missed calls from unknown International numbers or calls about winning prizes or lottery and continue sending such SMS every six months.
– Provide an easy and transparent mechanism for subscribers to activate or deactivate the ISD facility.