If you are using two SIM cards in your mobile phone without a real need, especially if one of them is kept in deactivated mode, you might soon have to pay a charge for it. This charge could be applied either as a one-time fee or on an annual basis.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is planning to introduce charges for mobile or landline numbers that remain inactive for long periods. Consequently, mobile operators may pass these charges on to the users.


Telecom Companies and Potential Charges:

  • TRAI’s Concern: Mobile operators are not deactivating SIM cards that have been inactive for a long time to avoid losing their user base. According to the rules, SIM cards that are not recharged for an extended period should be blacklisted.


  • TRAI is considering imposing penalties on mobile operators for not following this rule, which might result in telecom companies passing the burden onto the users.


  • Reason for Charging: According to an ET report, the country is facing a problem of mobile number scarcity. Many users have two SIM cards in their smartphones, one of which remains active while the other is rarely used or inactive.


  • Additionally, some users possess more than one mobile SIM card. Therefore, a plan to charge for mobile numbers is being considered.

Current Scenario and Statistics:

  • Inactive Numbers: According to TRAI’s data, more than 219.14 million mobile numbers are categorized as blacklisted due to long-term inactivity, accounting for approximately 19% of all mobile numbers. This poses a significant problem.


  • Government’s Role: The government holds the authority over mobile number spacing and issues number series to mobile operators. TRAI emphasizes that mobile numbers are a limited resource and should be used efficiently.


Global Practices:

  • Countries Charging for Mobile Numbers: Several countries, including Australia, Singapore, Belgium, Finland, the UK, Lithuania, Greece, Hong Kong, Bulgaria, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Poland, Nigeria, South Africa, and Denmark, already impose charges for mobile numbers.


Premium Number Auctions:

  • Auction Plans: Premium mobile numbers might be auctioned for up to ₹50,000, similar to the auctioning of vehicle number plates in the automotive industry. Telecom companies could offer customers the option to select from 100 to 300 premium numbers.


Key Takeaways:

  • Inactive SIM Charges: Users might have to pay charges for inactive SIM cards.
  • TRAI’s Initiative: The plan aims to address the scarcity of mobile numbers and ensure efficient use of resources.
  • Global Practices: Many countries already charge for mobile numbers.
  • Premium Numbers: Plans to auction premium mobile numbers.


Important Information in Tabular Form:

Aspect Details
Reason for Charges Inactivity of SIM cards
Proposed Charges One-time or annual fee
TRAI’s Concern Inefficient use of limited mobile numbers
Inactive Numbers 219.14 million (19% of total)
Global Practices Charges in Australia, Singapore, UK, etc.
Premium Number Auction Up to ₹50,000
User Options for Premium Numbers Select from 100 to 300 numbers

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