[False] TRAI May Charge Telcos a Fee for Phone Numbers: Check Details


Update: TRAI has confirmed that reports of charging customers for having multiple SIMs or numbering resources are completely false.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is considering a proposal to charge telecom operators a fee for phone numbers. According to TRAI, phone numbers are not infinite, and telecom operators are having trouble finding new numbers for customers. The authority is also considering imposing penalties on operators holding onto mobile numbers with low utilisation rates.

TRAI on Charging Fees for Phone Numbers

According to the latest report from the Times of India, TRAI said it might need more than strict guidelines for assigning phone numbers to guarantee efficient and fair use by service providers. Imposing charges during allocation could effectively ensure the proper use of these finite public resources. Additionally, introducing penalties for low usage of assigned numbers could further enhance efficiency.

TRAI stated that similar to Spectrum, the government owns numbering resources. Mobile operators are granted usage rights for these numbers during their licence period. The new Telecom Law, passed in December last year, includes a provision allowing charges for these numbers, technically referred to as ‘telecom identifiers.’

Who Will Be Charged?

But who will bear these charges if the proposal gets implemented? So according to TRAI, the government can explore two ways:

  • To impose a one-time fee per phone number.
  • To have an annual charging cycle.

The authority also stated that the charges may be imposed on telecom operators, but the companies might eventually recover that money from end customers.

It remains to be seen how these changes take shape and affect customers if and when these become official. We will keep you posted with more details on this, so, stay tuned.