The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued a consultation paper on ‘Regulation of International Mobile Roaming Services.’

According to TRAI, the consultation exercise is focused on identifying specific causes of bill shocks to consumers while availing the international mobile roaming (IMR) services, to evaluate the extant regulatory framework for adequacy to deal with the issue. Further, it is focused on evaluating the range of voluntary policies and measures adopted by telecom service providers (TSPs) in India to prevent instances of bill shocks to their respective subscribers, and the need for revision of regulatory framework and to make suitable changes in the regulatory framework

As per TRAI, the huge disparity between the price of standard rates and IR packs needs a review. Further, in the consultation paper TRAI has asked whether IMR service should remain inactive by default, while roaming in a foreign country, unless a user selects a tariff plan.

The regulator has asked industry stakeholders if international roaming (IR) packs presently offered for one day duration can be used to subscribe for multiple days to avail IMR service. Further, TRAI asked why users shouldn’t be charged on 24-hour format on first activating voice/data/SMS service rather than on calendar day basis. Should service providers be mandated to send updates in respect of the data usage exceeding certain pre-established milestones such as 50 per cent, 80 per cent, 90 per cent and 100 per cent of the data entitlement, TRAI asked.

Other issues for consultation include mandating telcos to inform the subscriber by SMS every time the subscriber lands in a country/area not covered by the IR Pack subscribed and if mobile data should be kept inactive until directed by the user.

Written comments on the consultation paper are invited from stakeholders by June 23, 2020 and counter-comments by July 7, 2020.