Mumbai: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Tuesday issued Telecom Tariff (69th Amendment) Order 2022 on the tariff for SMS and cell broadcast alerts disseminated through the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) platform during disasters/non-disasters.
DoT allows SMS/cell broadcast free of cost only for a definite period and for events where specific requests for free of cost messages come from NEC/NCMC/SEC/Nodal authorities," Trai said. 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 the holding of relief/vaccine/medical camps/specific law and order-related situations, etc."
During both disasters and non-disasters, the department of telecom (DoT) requested Trai to provide a tariff for SMS and cell broadcast alerts and messages that TSPs will distribute via the CAP platform.
Accordingly, as per extant practice, Trai issued a consultation paper on "Tariff issues related to SMS and cell broadcast alerts disseminated through the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) platform during disasters/non-disasters" on 3 November 2021, seeking comments and counter comments from stakeholders by 1 December 2021 and 15 December 2021, respectively.
After considering the views of all stakeholders/participants and the analysis thereof, the authority inserted schedule XIII to the principal tariff order in clause three of the Telecommunication Tariff Order 1999, which provides the following tariff for SMS and cell broadcast alerts disseminated by service providers through the CAP platform.
The authority decided to prescribe a tariff of paisa two only for SMS alerts/messages sent during disaster and non-disaster situations, other than those sent as per directions issued under the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
Considering the significance of alerts/messages sent as per directions issued under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the authority has decided that no charges shall be levied for such SMS/cell broadcasts—alerts/messages sent either during a disaster, prior to notification of a disaster, or after the disaster has expired.
Trai said TSPs shall broadcast messages to all subscribers through cell broadcast free of charge during disaster and non-disaster periods.