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Airtel, Vodafone cannot disconnect SIM if Minimum Recharge not Done

TRAI has given warning to Airtel and Vodafone over their ambitious plan to increase ARPU (Average Revenue Per User), by forcing users with 28-day recharges.

In their letter to Airtel and Vodafone-Idea,
TRAI has stated that untill the user has the talktime which is equivalent to the minimum recharge (Rs 35 as of now, on Airtel, Vodafone), they cannot disconnect SIMs, and block incoming calls.

Airtel and Vodafone has made it clear that they will not shy away from stopping incoming calls, and blocking SIM if every user doesn’t recharge every month.

In their letter to Airtel and Vodafone, TRAI said: “Till such time operators should not discontinue services of such customers who have balance in prepaid accounts equal to minimum recharge amount,”

Vodafone and Airtel have created an unncessary panic and confusion among telecom users, by shooting repeated messages about monthly recharges.

After it became clear that even incoming messages would be blocked, and entire mobile number will be out of service, TRAI has strictly ordered Airtel and Vodafone to first educate the customer about this new strategy and scheme.

TRAI has ordered that within 3 days (starting yesterday), every prepaid user should be educated on: The last day of the current plan; how to avoid disconnection; details about the minimum recharge plans.

TRAI has made it clear that they wont interfere in the actual tariff structures, as telecom operators are responsible for the same.

However, disconnecting SIMs if minimum recharge not done is not correct, if the user has that amount.

RS Sharma, Chairman, TRAI said, “Tariff and plans are under forbearance and we don’t generally intervene. But if there is sufficient money in the account and despite that people are being told that the services will be disconnected, it is not correct.”

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