TRAI sets zero termination charges for SMS alerts during disasters

Dec 06, 2022

New Delhi [India], December 6 : The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Tuesday issued Telecom Tariff (69th amendment) order 2022 on Tariff for SMS and
Cell Broadcast alerts disseminated through Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) platform
during disasters/non-disasters.
Department of Telecom (DoT) requested TRAI to provide tariff for SMS and Cell Broadcast alerts/messages to be disseminated by TSPs through CAP platform during disasters/non-disasters.
DOT allows SMS/Cell Broadcast free of cost only for a definite period and for events where specific request for free-of-cost messages comes from NEC/NCMC/SEC/Nodal Authorities. However, there are occasions when the government would like to send alert messages to the public forewarning of a possible disaster or occasions where the public has to be informed of special events such as holding of relief/vaccine/medical camps/specific law and order related situations etc.
Accordingly, as per extant practice, TRAI issued a Consultation Paper on "Tariff issues related to SMS and Cell Broadcast alerts disseminated through Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) platform during disasters/non-disasters" on November 3, 2021, seeking comments and counter comments from stakeholders by December 1, 2021 and December 15, 2021 respectively.
The Authority also conducted an Open House Discussion (OHD) through video-conferencing mode on the issues raised in the Consultation Paper.
After considering the views of all stakeholders/participants and analysis thereof, the Authority inserted Schedule XIII to the principal Tariff order, in clause 3 of the Telecommunication Tariff Order, 1999, which provides the following Tariff for Short Message Services (SMS) and Cell Broadcast alerts disseminated by service providers through Common Alerting Protocol platform.
The Authority decided to prescribe a Tariff of Rs. 0.02 (paisa two only) for SMS alerts/messages sent during disaster and non-disaster situations, other than those sent as per as per directions issued under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 (53 of 2005).
Considering the significance of alerts/messages sent as per direction issued under the Disaster Management Act,2005 (53 of 2005), the Authority has decided that no charges shall be levied for such SMS/Cell Broadcast - alerts/messages sent either during a disaster or prior to notification of disaster or after the expiry of disaster.
TRAI said TSPs shall broadcast messages to all the subscribers through Cell broadcast
free of cost during disaster and non-disaster period.