TRAI issues direction on guidelines on ‘Blackout’ Days

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued a direction to all telecom operators wherein the telecom watchdog of India has prescribed additional measured with a view to enhance transparency in the matter of charging on “blackout” days.


According to the directive, the term ‘blackout” days refers to the days on which the service providers do not allow free or concessional voice calls/ SMS offered by them under any plan/ package.


We know that certain guidelines are already in place as per which the number of blackout days shall not exceed five in a calendar year and no alteration in any such date is allowed after the package is subscribed to by the consumer.
But today the TRAI has issued additional measures which are now being mandated and are as follows:
  • The charges for calls or SMSs on ‘blackout’ days shall not exceed the rate in the tariff plan in which the consumer is enrolled;
  • Consumers shall be given intimation prior to start of every “blackout” day and the date/occasion of the “blackout” day shall also be intimated; and
  • List of blackout days applicable for the calendar year shall be displayed on the website of service providers, before start of every calendar year and shall be published, service area wise, along with the tariff plans of the service provider, every six months.

The TRAI has mandated these directives because it found that that in some cases full information is not being conveyed to the subscribers in a transparent manner and there is no uniformity in the rates being charged from the consumers by different service providers on blackout days, as while some service providers are charging as per standard rate, others are charging as per the tariff plan rate or specified rate.

We hope that these directions on guidelines helps mobile phone users have a clear knowledge of what their rights are and if their service providers is abiding by the rules or not.