No Fee For Holding Multiple SIM Cards, Says TRAI

No Fee For Holding Multiple SIM Cards, Says TRAI

A day after multiple media reports said that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) proposed a measure where users would be charged a fee for mobile and landline numbers, the telecom regulator on Friday categorically denied them and termed them “baseless.” Earlier this month, the regulatory authority overseeing telecom services in India released a consultation paper on the “Revision of the National Numbering Plan.”

The paper had sought feedback from the industry on the potential implementation of financial penalties for telecom operators if allocated telecommunications identifier (TI) resources are left unused after a specified period.

What Are Telecommunications Identifiers

Telecommunications identifiers (TIs) are sequences composed of digits, characters, symbols, or combinations thereof, used to uniquely identify users of landline and mobile services.

“…it has come to our attention that some media houses (print, electronic, and social media) have reported that TRAI has proposed introducing fees for mobile and landline numbers with aim to ensure the efficient allocation and use of these ‘finite resources’. The speculation that TRAI intends to impose charges on customers for holding multiple SIMs/numbering resources is unequivocally false. Such claims are unfounded and serve only to mislead the public,” the regulator said.

TRAI, in the consultation paper mentioned that introducing fees would help guarantee the efficient distribution and utilisation of these limited resources. TRAI had also emphasised that phone numbers are a valuable but limited public resource. This move would have affected those who have multiple unused SIM cards in their devices.

Currently, India has total 1,199.28 million telephone subscribers and has a tele-density of 85.69 per cent (as of March 31, 2024).

According to TRAI, it is crucial to assess the utilisation of TIs and make policy decisions to ensure a sustainable reservoir for the continued growth of telecommunication services. 

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