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Wednesday, Jan 12, 2005

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Want to choose a cell tariff? Click TRAI

Thomas K. Thomas

New Delhi , Jan. 11

IF you are confused about choosing the right tariff package for your mobile connection then the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is here to the rescue.

The telecom regulator, along with the Tata Energy Research Institute, has developed a software that would allow consumers to compare between the tariff packages being offered by over eight mobile operators in the country.

The software will be loaded on the TRAI Web site and will be accessible to the consumers free of cost. The telecom regulator has allowed operators to offer a maximum of 25 packages and with an average of 4 operators per State there are at least 20-30 different schemes at any given time.

Operators introduce new schemes and offers for specific target groups, which makes it difficult for consumers to weigh their option.

For instance, a subscriber in Delhi has to choose from about 10 post-paid and pre-paid tariff schemes from Airtel, 8 from Hutch and another 6 from Idea Cellular. Then, there are tariff plans from Reliance Infocomm, Tata Teleservices and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd. Senior TRAI officials said that the software wouldenable consumers to punch in tariff data of a scheme and compare it with others in the market. The software is expected to be launched in a few weeks.

Earlier, TRAI had attempted to make it simpler for the consumers by restricting the number of packages. This was later relaxed after operators complained that they could not effectively compete with such restrictions.

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