Life time tariff plans of telecom companies

I refer to some of the post stating that telecom companies are not insisting consumers to recharge their lifelong mobile connections for some few rupees every month to keep their life long connections active. My take on this issue is that it is not of new development but was existing even many years back. May be we have not read terms and conditions. It was earlier also requiring to keep it recharged every three months or six months. The following newspaper report of dtd. 19th Feb. 2009 on Vodafone and this was applicable for all operators. As an example MTNL was insisting minimum recharge for Rs. 100/- every three months if there is no usage.

The following point are of significance as per TRAI regulation.
1. The telecom company cannot increase the tariff during its validity and in case of life time tariff plan, till validity of the licence or the extended licence if any.
2. The minimum validity of any plan has to be six months from the date of activation of the plan.
3. The consumer has a right to get their plan changed at any point of time during the validity of the tariff plan.

In case any of the consumer feels that the company has increased the tariff during the validity of the plan, may study the terms and let the post be updated with the details for my academic interest and escalating the issue. more  

View all 17 comments Below 17 comments
Dear Mr. Virmani
You are partially true, not fully. I converted my two Airtel prepaid mobile number to life time vality with Rs.999/- each, in the year 2006. You are giving news paper report of about year 2009. Now question is:
1. Does 2009 report (better say TRAI circuler) is applicable to the customer who take the life time validity in the year 2006? If applicable, service provider never communicated it to the customer.
2. I had sent multiple email to Airtel. Airtel saying, "Presently you weren't in life time validity plan". That means, without my permission, Airtel has been change my tariff plan. If your demand is true, then Airtel can demand periodic recharge indicating TRAI circular number with date, but Airtel can't say my tariff plan has been changed.
3. If the life time validity plan has been changed as per TRAI circuler, that could be communicated to the customer on the date of effect through SMS and News paper advertisement, but that is not done. more  
Sir, What I have stated is the part of regulations. It is true that the tariff cannot be increased during the validity of plan. Change in tariff plan beyond the validity can be done only with the consent of the subscriber. Tariff plan cannot be withdrawn during its validity and the validity period is counted w.r.t subscribers activation reference. more  
Once registered why recharging again again for receiving the incoming calls .Only top up or special recharging for out going calls is necessary. The days are selected in such a way (like 28 days not 30 days) that people has to recharge more no of times in a year. more  
Thanks Mr. Virmani for raising and helping on this Pre-Paid tariff issue of telecoms.
It appears his quotation of TRAI regulations concerning to pre=paid plan validity and changeability is bit outdated. Latest position is ,what is complained by all pre-paid sufferers that all Plan validity is reduced to 28 days complied by all four major operators in Mumbai region viz; Tata Docomo, Airtel, Vodafone and Idea. Not aware about other operators or region who had earlier given plans of lifetime validity ( Meaning till the operation period of licence).(Jio is not part as from the inception it has minimum 28 days validity plan for pre-paid)

Big concern is lack of clarity. The TRAI website or the websites of all telecom operators is vague, non specific and non-transparent making it a Pandora's Box. Tata has minimum of Rs. 19 plan of 28 days, Vodafone n Idea Rs.35 , Airtel Rs.25 -- ALL FOR 28 days duration including use of voice calls and Data. HOWEVER THE UNKNOWN PART IS how much PULSE RATE per call ( Local or STD seems to have no difference now) For instance Vodafone provides talk time of Rs.26 and the pulse rate is 2.5 paise per second. All other operators or the TRAI Tariff do not mention the pulse rate for the talk time or per minute data use. AND I COULD NOT FIND THE OFFER IMAGE (as given above) of Vodafone life time plan for Rs. 47. When I visited Voda Gallery, they di not have any printed tariff plan or condition but was told to see on its Website. I tried but failed to see any pre=paid plans transparent anywhere.

However THE MOST INTGRUING part of anti -consumerism is STOIC SILENCE OF THE STATUS OF THE EXISTING PRE-PAID PLAN BALANCE , whether at TRAI website or Service provider Website. Yes, it is perhaps carried in your existing credit balance BUT THE VALIDITY perios of the saem may be subject to the continuous subscription of 28 day plan, If one is a "live subscriber" and exhausting this balance within the 28 day or every other subscribed 28 day period, it can be used ,otherwise it will lapse AND go in the kitty of Service providers. This is the Greatest disservice the TRAI has done to protect consumers when it failed to provide the refund of UNUSED CREDIT OF EARLIER LIFE TIME VALIDITY PLANS . It is a bonanza for the telecom operators at the cost and peril of poor consumers.
I being the pre-paid life plan subscriber of two operators was Not At All informed about this change nor was I asked if I am interested to opt for their 28 day plan pack. It is imposed on the consumers without their consent. Aggrieved by this one sided act and uncertainty , I has sent a grievance mail to Airtel with a copy to complaints Officer TRAI. While under TRAI Act TRAI is not bound to reply or take care of individual grievances, even the Airtel has not yet clarified or redressed my grievance as in the following letter:

Sub:Confusion and non=tranparency. technical flaws in balance of my pre paid # 7715944860

From :mohan siroya
Thu 12/13/2018, 7:55 AM;;; Complaints officer TRAI

Dear Sirs

I have been using the above prepaid mobile Sim since long. The balance credit shown for the above # is 343 in the main account valid till the expiry date of your licence. Since this is my additional phone, I sparsely or occasionally use it.
2. Last month when I wanted to make a call ,was unable to do as a message flashed :"No Balance, pl. recharge" .As I was in hurry so as per the minimum plan recharge I was made to pay Rs. 145 on 26 Nov. valid for 28 days viz; 23 Dec. Thereafter I was out of Mumbai and did not bother to ask details.
3 Today, when I contacted your 198, Mr. Jayesh informed me that I have Rs. 343 credit balance in my Principal account and validity is till 6 Jan 2019. He could not answer my queries and wanted to refer to the supervisor but then line got cut.
4 ,I want to know in a transparent and clear way, what is my "Principal Account" why it is valid only till 6 Jan 2019 , why I was told NO Balance on 26 Nov and was made to recharge for a min. plan of Rs. 145? And finally what is the present clear status of my Voice / Principal account balance and validity.?
Since I never use your Internet data, what will happen to Rs. 145/- additional recharge I did on 26 Nov..?

Mohan Siroya"
Now may I request Mr. Virmani and all other Consumer Activists to get a clear picture on this issue in the larger interest of pre-paid mobile users.

Kindly revert with the factual position.

Thanking you

Mohan Siroya more  
I maintain a Vodafone prepaid Number duly converted into life time term since 2010. This month for the first time I received a reminder from them for recharging with minimum of Rs.35.00 for one month to get their services continued. more  
No doubt, recent developements are absolutely unethical,a large no. of consumers raised their voice in various forum but now some ammendmends are there, once you recharged, tariff per second is less, minimum recarge amount is scaled down, earlier it was Rs.35/- now it is Rs.23/- and for three months it is economical Rs.250/- I have got it checked from Airtel center. Hope TRAI will introspect it and take corrective measures to extend benefit to valued users. more  
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