New Delhi: The Government said on 22 August it will refer the issue of recent tariff hike by mobile operators to TRAI and would take a decision only after knowing the regulator’s opinion.
“SMS is a mode of tariff. Definitely tariff is in the control of the ministry. Let TRAI decide on it first,” Telecom Minister A Raja said on the sidelines of a function organized by Telecom Equipment Manufacturers Association.
When contacted on the matter, TRAI chairman Nripendra Misra told PTI: “There has been no reference from DoT to look into the matter so far. I would have to get a communication from them first to be able to say anything on the matter.”
Earlier, the regulator had cited the market forces as a cause for the hike in SMS and local call charges by Airtel and Vodafone Essar.
GSM operators earlier this month hiked SMS charges 20% flat to Rs1.20 per message and local call charges within their network by 20% to Rs1.20 per minute from Re1 for prepaid customers.
Prior to that, most private GSM players hiked STD tariffs over 10% for prepaid users.
“Mobile tariffs fall under forbearance (whereby the operators have freedom to fix tariffs)... Although the recent hike in tariffs of SMS and local calls is not a consumer- friendly measure, there is no scope for intervention as long as there is forbearance,” Misra had said.