Activation of mobile Value Added Services have declined by 59.93 percent since India’s telecom regulator TRAI enforced a fresh set of guidelines in July 2013. The number of activations declined 56% from 69,003,586 in June 2013 to 29,878,733 in July, and another 7.45% between June and July to 27,651,715. More importantly:

– The number of Mobile VAS complaints have declined by 91% between June and August 2013, and 87% between July and August 2013.
– Complaints related to activation, as a percentage of activation, declined from 0.25% to 0.03%. This means that in August 2013, complaints were registered only for 0.03% of VAS.
– Complaints related to activation, as a percentage of total VAS complaints declined from 40.5% in July 2013 to 9.78%. This means that prior to the July 2013 guidelines, Activation accounted for as much as 40.5% of total VAS complaints.

More in our table below.


This is as we had predicted: the process of activation had moved to the mobile web, and some telecom operators had not yet instituted a second gateway for confirmation of subscriptions, and the July 11th 2013 guidelines explicitly addressed both these issues. The TRAI has also instituted a common, toll-free number for de-activation of services, and ordered telecom operators to refund money within 24 hours of activation of the customers request for deactivation.

This is clearly having an impact on revenues. Airtel has, as we had reported, increased CRBT prices by 20%, and now we know why.

It has also had an impact on the number of complaints, which have seen a significant decline, as you can see in the table and chart below.



In our opinion, the TRAI still needs to keep a watch on this situation, because it is still dependent on the propensity of telecom operators to actually register complaints, or classify complaints as related to mobile VAS, or, for that matter, on the authenticity of data that telecom operators send to TRAI.

India’s New Activation Process For Telco Billing Via Mobile Internet, SMS, IVR
TRAI’s New VAS Activation-Deactivation Guidelines Include Mobile Internet
Airtel Increases CRBT Rates By 20%

– TRAI MVAS Regulations
– MediaNama’s Recommendations to TRAI on Mobile VAS