wordpress blog stats
Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

, ,

If more subscribers should get extension, pay telcos from USO Fund: COAI


In a letter yesterday to TRAI, the Cellular Operators Association of India said telcos didn’t want to extend mobile plan validity to customers who do not need it. Telecom operators had taken steps last month to make sure that some of their poorest customers would keep access to calling and texting, following a TRAI order that told telcos to extend benefits to users due to the COVID-19 lockdown shutting shops that sell recharges down.

On April 7, TRAI told telcos that the steps they took in March are not enough, saying that all prepaid users needed to have their plan validity extended. In letters to Vodafone and Airtel, TRAI reportedly said that telcos’ selective approach to who would get plan extensions was excluding many 2G subscribers. Jio was also not spared — in a letter to them, TRAI said that since calling and SMS were billed separately from data, users who run out of call and SMS balance but still have an active plan would not be able to make any calls. Jio has only extended calling and SMS extensions to people whose plans expire.

(Side note, we bought Jio’s Work From Home plan for Rs 251 and found that even if we paid for talktime top-ups, it was impossible to place calls to non-Jio numbers. That plan, though offering more days’ validity than a pre-existing identically priced plan, has no provision for calling and SMS, something the telco doesn’t explicitly warn users about. So subscribers need to cough up more money to buy an additional plan — the cheapest one costing Rs 129 — to have talktime top-ups that were already purchased on top of the plan count.)

Pay up, or put up

COAI, for its part, seems determined to not cede any further concessions in terms of extending plan validity. Saying that the limited steps they have taken have costed telcos at least Rs 600 crore, COAI added, “We cannot believe it is the intention of TRAI that such benefits should be indiscriminately provided to even those privileged ones who are well able to afford such services and need no incentives or provisions to avail of continued mobile services. This would amount to an unjustified subsidy to this larger class of customers at a steep loss to the industry.”

But, in case the government is still intent on making sure more users are covered, COAI added at the end of the letter, they can do so by subsidising telcos with the Universal Service Obligation Fund. “This could be adequately compensated from the USO Fund where more than Rs. 51,500 Cr is being lying un-utilised as on 31.03.2020,” the letter said.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Written By

I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.



Due to the scale of regulatory and technical challenges, transparency reporting under the IT Rules has gotten off to a rocky start.


Here are possible reasons why Indians are not generating significant IAP revenues despite our download share crossing 30%.


This article addresses the legal and practical ambiguities in understanding the complex crypto ecosystem in India.


It is widely argued that the PDP Bill report seeks to discard the intermediary status of social media platforms but that may not be...


Looking at the definition of health data, it is difficult to verify whether health IDs are covered by the Bill.

You May Also Like


Google has released a Google Travel Trends Report which states that branded budget hotel search queries grew 179% year over year (YOY) in India, in...


135 job openings in over 60 companies are listed at our free Digital and Mobile Job Board: If you’re looking for a job, or...


Rajesh Kumar* doesn’t have many enemies in life. But, Uber, for which he drives a cab everyday, is starting to look like one, he...


By Aroon Deep and Aditya Chunduru You’re reading it here first: Twitter has complied with government requests to censor 52 tweets that mostly criticised...

MediaNama is the premier source of information and analysis on Technology Policy in India. More about MediaNama, and contact information, here.

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ

Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Your email address:*
Please enter all required fields Click to hide
Correct invalid entries Click to hide

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ