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HomeFact CheckWill Dual-SIM Users Have To Pay Penalty? Here’s Truth Behind Viral Claim...

Will Dual-SIM Users Have To Pay Penalty? Here’s Truth Behind Viral Claim Over New ‘TRAI Rule’

Authors

Kushel HM is a mechanical engineer-turned-journalist, who loves all things football, tennis and films. He was with the news desk at the Hindustan Times, Mumbai, before joining Newschecker.

Pankaj Menon is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.

Claim
TRAI going to charge users having two SIMs in one phone.

Fact
No such rule, misleading claim based on proposals put forward by a recent TRAI consultation paper on phone number resources.

Would you have to pay extra just for using two SIMS in your mobile phone? According to several users on social media, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) will slap a penalty on those mobile phone users having two SIMS in one device and this fee would be collected as a lump sum or on an annual basis. The users sharing the claim are basing their claims on a News24 report. Mobile phone operators can recover this charge from users, further claimed the social media posts, mocking the “new robbery drama”.

The archived version of the tweet can be seen here.

Fact Check

Newschecker first ran a keyword search for “TRAI rules dual sim”,  which led us to this Times of India report, dated June 13, 2024, headlined, “Your Phone No. May Come At A Cost As TRAI Mulls Fee”.

“Your phone operator may soon charge a fee for the number of your smartphone and the landline if a proposal by telecom regulator TRAI gets implemented. Trai feels that phone number ‘represents an exceedingly valuable public resource which is not infinite’ and charges may be imposed on mobile operators, who may subsequently recover them from users,” read the report, stating that the regulator is also considering whether to impose penalties on operators who are holding on to number resources with low utilisation.

“For example, a subscriber with dual SIMs not using one for a long time but the operator is not cancelling this number in fear of losing user base,” further read the report, indicating that the viral claim on extra charges for dual-sim devices was just a hypothetical situation presented by a media outlet. 

“Mulling over the possible methods of charging, TRAI said the government can look at either imposing a one-time charge per number, or seek an annual recurring charge for each numbering resource allocated to the service provider, or allocate numbering series, with govt conducting centralised auctions for the vanity numbers,” stated a similar Economic Times report, dated June 13, 2024,

 “The regulator is considering penalties for operators that hold on to underutilised number resources. If a subscriber has a dual SIM setup but doesn’t use one number for an extended period, operators are hesitant to cancel the number to retain their user base, leading to inefficient use of resources,” according to this Business Standard report on the TRAI proposal, June 13, 2024, which further proves that nothing has been finalised by TRAI and that the measures are being considered as part of a proposal, detailed in a consultation paper on the “Revision of the National Numbering Plan”, released on June 6, 2024.

Newschecker went through the press release and the consultation paper and found no instance where the regulator said it would charge users for having dual SIMs in their phones. The document proposes measures like one-time or annual charges for inactive numbers, while discussing the scarcity of “telecommunication identifiers (phone numbers)”, which further proves that ET, TOI and Business Standard were discussing a hypothetical situation by giving the example of a subscriber with dual SIMs.

Also, the agency has sought recommendations and suggestions from stakeholders to the proposed revisions in the consultation paper by July 4, 2024, and counter-comments by July 18, 2024, which confirms that it is not the final regulation.

Also Read: Viral Video Showing Tejashwi Yadav ‘Drunk’ During Press Interaction Is Manipulated

Conclusion

Viral claims stating the mobile phone users will be charged extra for using two SIMs in one device found to be misleading and a misinterpretation of media reports on a TRAI proposal.

Result: Missing Context

Sources
TOI report, June 13, 2024
Business Standard report, June 13, 2024
TRAI press release, June 6, 2024
TRAI consultation paper, June 6, 2024


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Authors

Kushel HM is a mechanical engineer-turned-journalist, who loves all things football, tennis and films. He was with the news desk at the Hindustan Times, Mumbai, before joining Newschecker.

Pankaj Menon is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.

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