India telecom regulator extends mobile internet packs validity to 1 year

Finally the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has some good news for mobile users.

Mobile data users will now be able to keep their SIM active for one year from the day of last usage as regulator TRAI has permitted increase of validity for mobile data packs to 365 days, from the current 90 days.

Trai said that only 31.35 crore wireless subscribers used internet out of a total wireless subscriber base of 103.37 crore at the end of March, 2016.

Trai said that only 31.35 crore wireless subscribers used internet out of a total wireless subscriber base of 103.37 crore at the end of March, 2016.

TRAI, on Saturday, stated the move will help boost usage of marginal consumers and also attract first-time Internet users.

“Requests were pouring in to TRAI asking for longer validity for data-packs (that is Special Tariff Vouchers with only data benefits) mostly to address the concern of marginal consumers of wireless Internet who prefer lower denomination data packs with longer validity,” the regulator said in a statement to media.

The move is meant to benefit those who use mobile SIMs for data services rather than for making phone calls. This will also help users carry forward their unused mobile internet quota throughout the year which generally lapses at the end of every month. Added problem was that the mobile number ceased to exist if a customer does not use mobile services for continuous 90 days.

TRAI said that only 31.35 crore wireless subscribers used internet out of a total wireless subscriber base of 103.37 crore at the end of March, 2016. Noticeably the usage of wireless internet in the country was only 30 per cent as of March, 2016. The wireless data usage grew by about 58 per cent between January-March 2015 and between January-March 2016, the wireless subscriber base, which used Internet, grew by a meagre 16 per cent.

“It appears that the existing subscribers, having discovered the benefits of Internet usage, have increased their consumption of data (Internet). However, the non-connected are not getting induced to access internet,” the regular had earlier said.

It put the onus of such a trend on low level of literacy, low perceived utility of the internet, and non-affordability of data amongst marginal consumers.

The regulator felt that allowing longer validity for data packs would provide flexibility to service providers to offer innovative data products.

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