The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released a proposal to make Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) messages free to all mobile customers in the country. USSD messages are used by many operators and banking services, often on multifunction phones that do not have Internet access. The proposal aims to reduce the cost of USSD messages from a maximum of 50 paise to zero. The regulator cited the low prices of calls and texts as the reason for proposing the removal of charges for mobile customers.
In a Nov. 24 statement, spotted by TelecomTalk, TRAI said the proposal to make USSD messages free to all users is based on recommendations from a high-level committee on Deepening Digital Payments (CDDP) formed. by the Reserve Bank of India to encourage digital payments in the country.
USSD messages are also used by telecommunications operators to allow multifunction phone users to check their balance and activate services without Internet access.
TRAI said it has analyzed the matter at the request of the Department of Financial Services (DFS) at the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and the regulator believes that the streamlining of USSD fees is necessary to protect the interests of USSD users. and promote digital financial inclusion. . The Telecommunications Tariff Ordinance of 2016 (61st Amendment) previously reduced the price cap based on USSD from Rs. 1.50 to the existing 50 paise per session.
“The Authority proposes to revise the framework for USSD-based mobile banking and payment services by prescribing a ‘nil’ fee per USSD session for mobile banking and payment services, while retaining the remaining elements of the USSD unchanged, “TRAI said. The draft amending decree was posted on TRAI’s website, and the regulator invited stakeholders to send in written comments by December 8, according to TRAI.
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