TRAI has just amended the Telecom Consumers Protection Regulation 2016. It will enable unique data vouchers for a validity of 365 days. The latest amendment allows for special tariff vouchers which can have 365 days validity. The TRAI has also approved interoperable digital STB’s, and it will offer choice to consumers. It is also in a process to finalise its standing on Wi-Fi networks within a month.

At present different Telecom service providers offer data services along with other tariff items with a maximum validity for 90 days. Giving details of the latest amendment TRAI in a statement said that it had been receiving requests for increasing the validity beyond the stipulated 90 days. The move was taken in the interests of the consumer who prefer data packs of lower values but with longer validity.

The move by TRAI will also boost data usage by consumers and will also attract first timers to the web. TRAI is also taking steps to ensure that data left behind after the validity expires to be carried forward. The latest move will go a long way in pre-empting this possibility of lapsed data usage after the expiry of the 90 days validity period.

In the news, Airtel is offering 3 GB free data every month for a year for any and this will be in addition to the usual benefits of the recharge voucher. Idea Cellular is also offering the same amount of data for free for anyone who is upgrading to a new 4G handset. It could be termed the Jio effect as the Data rates have fallen drastically since Jio unveiled its free 4G plans. The offer has been extended to March 2017. However, the data plan by Jio is limited to a 3GB daily limit, and most consumers have complained that the speed is slow after the initial 3GB limit is exhausted. Still, it is better than most competitive offers.