What is TRAI and how it works?
TRAI is Telecom Regulatory Authority of India is an independent regulatory body established by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act 1997 to oversee the telecommunications industry in India.
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The main objective of this act was to establish TRAI and Telecom Dispute Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT). The main purpose of both the institutions is to regulate telecommunication services, adjudicate disputes, dispose appeals and protect the interest of the service providers as well as consumers. It also aims to promote and ensure orderly growth of the telecom sector. That is it encourages technological improvements and provides efficiency and technical compatibility. For this TRAI establishes standards for Quality of Services (QoS) and supervise how service providers share revenue.
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More about TRAI
- It conducts periodical surveys to ensure that telecom service providers are acting in the best interest of consumers and are opening in compliance with universal service obligations.
- Functions of TRAI are mentioned under section 11 of the TRAI Act.
- TRAI’s functions are classified into four broad categories according to the 2000 Amendment Act that is on various issues it can make recommendations, regulatory and general administrative functions, fixing tariffs and rates for telecom services and any other functions entrusted by the Central Government.
Functions of TRAI
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- Whatever recommendations are mentioned by TRAI is not binding on the Central Government.
- It can make recommendations on a request from the licensor on the matters :
(i) Terms and conditions of licence to a service provider.
(ii) Need for timing the introduction of new service provider.
(iii) Revocation of license for non-compliance of terms and conditions of license.
(iv) Technological improvements in the services provided by the service provider.
(v) Different type of equipment used by the service providers after inspection of equipment used in the network.
(vi) Efficient management of available spectrum.
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- Within 60 days TRAI has the obligation to forward the recommendation to the Central Government from the date of the request for recommendations.
- Also within 7 days it is the duty of the Central Government to furnish information from the date of the request of TRAI.
- Even Central Government can issue licenses to the service provider, if TRAI fails to give any recommendation within the stipulated period.
- In fact Central Government can send back the recommendations made by TRAI back for reconsideration if needed any modification.
- From the date of reference TRAI may reply within a period of 15 days.
- TRAI has power to notify in the official gazette the rates at which telecommunication services are being provided in and outside India.
- It is the duty of TRAI to ensure transparency while exercising its powers and discharging its functions.
- Under section 12 of TRAI has power to call for information and to conduct investigation.
- Under section 13 TRAI has power to issue directions also.
On 15 June 2007, TRAI has issued the Telecommunication Consumers Education and Protection Fund Regulations, 2007 to enable the service providers to transfer unrefunded money of customers lying with them to Telecommunication Consumers Education and Protection Fund (TCEPF). The income received from the fund is utilised to undertake programs to educate consumers, to conduct studies in the field of telecommunications and holding seminars, workshops etc on the subject of consumer welfare and for educating consumers.
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TRAI has also issued the “Registration of Consumer Organisations Regulations on 21st February 2013, for strengthening the framework for interaction with the consumer organisations.
Recently, TRAI has introduced 3 mobile Apps and web portal for Voice, Data quality and Tracking.
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(i) TRAI MyCall App is an Android application for crowd sourced voice call quality monitoring. It will help users to rate their experience about voice call quality in real time and help TRAI gather customer experience.
(ii) TRAI MySpeed App that will enable the regulator to obtain test-driven data from users in all service areas, without any action by the users.
(iii) DND 2.0 App (Do Not Disturb) Services App will help smart phone users to register their mobile number under DND to avoid unsolicited commercial communication/ telemarketing calls/ SMS.