Telecom operators will not be able to charge customers on calls or SMSs beyond their existing tariff plans on 'blackout days' like Diwali and New Year, according to a Trai directive issued today.
"The charges for calls or SMSs on 'blackout' days shall not exceed the rate in the tariff plan in which the consumer is enrolled," Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said.
'Blackout days' refer to the day on which the service providers do not allow free or concessional voice calls and SMS offered by them under any plan or package, such as festivals like Diwali, Holi, etc.
Trai said consumers have to be given intimation prior to start of every blackout day and the date/occasion of the blackout day shall also be intimated.
A 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 regulator added.
The new guidelines are in addition to those 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 by the consumer.