TRAI refutes false claims about imposing charges on multiple SIM card

In a statement issued on social media platform X (formerly Twitter), TRAI described such claims as “completely false and baseless.”

| Updated: 15 June, 2024 9:35 am IST

NEW DELHI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has categorically denied recent media reports claiming that the regulator intends to impose charges on customers for holding multiple SIM cards or numbering resources.

In a statement issued on social media platform X (formerly Twitter), TRAI described such claims as “completely false and baseless.”

“The speculation that TRAI intends to impose charges on customers for holding multiple SIMs/numbering resources is unequivocally false. Such claims are unfounded and serve only to mislead the public,” TRAI stated.

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This clarification comes in response to several media reports alleging that TRAI plans to introduce fees for mobile and landline numbers. These reports suggested that the regulator’s aim was to ensure efficient allocation of finite telecommunications resources.

TRAI’s recent discussion paper, “Revision of National Numbering Plan,” issued on June 6, 2024, sparked the false claims. The paper invited industry views on whether financial disincentives should be applied to telecom operators if allocated telecommunications identifier (TI) resources remained unused beyond a certain timeframe. TIs are unique identifiers for landline and mobile services, consisting of digits, characters, and symbols.

In the paper, TRAI noted that Indian telecom operators often capitalize on market demand by offering vanity or “highly coveted” numbers at premium rates, sometimes conducting auctions to maximize revenue from these allocations. The regulator highlighted that such practices could lead to inefficient utilization and hoarding of numbering resources. To address this, TRAI suggested considering a nominal fee for telecom service providers (TSPs) against allocated numbering resources.

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However, TRAI emphasized that its consultation paper does not propose any charges for consumers holding multiple SIMs. The regulator reiterated its commitment to minimal regulatory intervention and promoting market self-regulation.

“We unequivocally repudiate and emphatically condemn any spurious conjectures that perpetuate the circulation of such misleading information concerning the consultation paper at hand,” TRAI asserted.

The clarification aims to dispel confusion and reassure the public that no additional charges will be imposed on customers for holding multiple phone or landline numbers. The regulator’s stance remains focused on ensuring efficient communication and network management, particularly with the advent of 5G networks, without burdening consumers with unnecessary fees.

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