TRAI Says Phone Numbers Not Infinite, Telcos May Charge Users A Fee Or Rental For It: Report

(MENAFN- AsiaNet News) Because phone numbers are limited, Telecom service providers are having trouble coming up with fresh phone numbers to provide to their clients. Therefore, in addition to all other taxes and levies currently imposed, TRAI has recommended that telcos charge customers a price for the numbers that are assigned to users.

TRAI argues that phone numbers are a valuable public resource and are not infinite, thus suggesting that operators should be charged for these numbers. These charges would likely be passed on to the consumers, as reported by the Times of India.

Additionally, TRAI is also considering penalties for operators who are not using their number resources efficiently.
For instance, if a user has a dual SIM and has taken two numbers, but doesn't use one of the numbers for a long period, the operator often keeps the number active to maintain their user base.

According to TRAI, actions like this result in the wasteful use of scarce resources. They suggest that charging people and enforcing fines would promote more responsible usage of these resources.
TRAI noted that the government owns numbering space, just like it does with the spectrum. During the duration of their licence, mobile carriers are allowed to utilise certain numbers slots by the government.

The new Telecom Law, passed in December last year, allows for charges on numbers, referred to as 'telecom identifiers.'

TRAI used the fact that several nations currently impose fees for phone numbers as evidence to support their position. Australia, Singapore, Belgium, Finland, the UK, Greece, Lithuania, Hong Kong, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Poland, Nigeria, South Africa, and Denmark are some of these nations.

TRAI also discussed potential methods for imposing these charges. They suggested that the government could either impose a one-time charge per number, seek an annual recurring fee for each numbering resource, or conduct centralized auctions for vanity or 'VIP' numbers.
They are drawing insights from the various auctions that mobile operators conduct for premium numbers to inform their strategy.


AsiaNet News

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