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TRAI Decides No Charges for SMS and Cell Broadcast Alerts During Disasters

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) 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. During both disasters and non-disasters, the Department of Telecom (DoT) requested that TRAI provide a tariff for SMS and cell broadcast alerts and messages that TSPs will distribute via the CAP platform.

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What The TRAI Said:

Considering the significance of alerts or messages sent as per direction issued under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 , the Authority has decided that no charges shall be levied for such SMS/Cell Broadcast Alerts or messages sent either during a disaster or prior to notification of disaster or after the expiry of disaster,” Trai said.

Need Of This Move:

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.

About The Common Alert Protocol (CAP):

CAP was developed by the state-run telecom research organization C-DoT, and it allows local areas to be marked on a map to send alerts. C-DoT has integrated radio stations, DTH players, and railway stations for alerting purposes in the initial phase of CAP. C-DOT will expand it in the second phase to include all radio, television, and train station locations for the purpose of sending warning alerts.

How It Was Done:

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.

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.

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI):

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India was set up by the Government of India in 1997 under the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997. It was set up to regulate telecom services, including fixation/revision of tariffs for telecom services which were earlier vested in the Central Government.

Headquarters: New Delhi 

Chairman: Ram Sewak Sharma

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