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TRAI broadens scope of Telecom Consumer Education Fund

June 14,2024

The sector regulator has amended some regulations to broaden the scope of a fund used for running activities relating to telecom consumer education and protection.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Friday amended regulations 6 and 13 of the Telecommunication Consumers Education and Protection Fund (TCEPF) principal rules to enable utilisation of the fund for expenses relating to preparation, maintenance, audit of accounts, and for the participation of representatives of consumer groups attending meetings of the Committee for Utilisation of Telecommunication Consumers Education & Protection Fund (CUTCEF).

The regulator, though, dismissed telcos’ call for tapping the TCEPF corpus for conducting consumer education workshops, saying operators are already arranging such consumer outreach programs regularly to improve customer experience as mandated by Trai. It also rejected industry demands for increasing the representation of telecom service providers in the CUTCEF, saying the current telco presence in the panel is adequate.

Trai has also rejected telco demands of tapping the TCEPF corpus to compensate them for mandatory text message alerts, saying that such services were meant to be given free of charge to mobile users.

In an accompanying explanatory memorandum, Trai said that back in 2020, Corporation Bank, in which the fund (read: TCEPF) is maintained, had been merged with Union Bank of India. Further, the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, had been repealed by the Consumer Protection Act, 2019. Accordingly, amendments have been made to change the relevant provisions in the principal regulations.

Source: Economic Times

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