By: Nirupam Manik, The Mobile Indian, New Delhi
Last updated : Friday, January 20, 2017 - 20:13
COAI yesterday confirmed Government's decision to allow Rs 500 notes for prepaid mobile recharge.
Not well versed with Paytm? and struggling to get your prepaid recharge? Good News! COAI (Cellular Operators Association) yesterday confirmed that Government is now allowing you to do prepaid mobile recharges with Rs 500 notes.That opens up the almost 800 million subscriber market of GSM subscribers, of whom over 95% are prepaid, for getting rid of old Rs 500 notes. Of course, keep in mind that wih ARPU's ruling at well under Rs 200 typically, you might just struggle to get the change back! On top of that, most recharges are typically for much smaller amounts ranging from Rs 10 to Rs 50, so it remains to be seen how useful this move turns out to be.
We do hope that some enterprising telecom firms use this opportunity to create too good to miss offers, and try and bump up users towards data consumption.
Rajan Mathews, COAI Director General said - "We are delighted that government listened to our request in the interest of consumers, addressing the difficulties faced by ordinary citizens who can continue to top up and use mobile services, which are essential services,"
Recent reports suggest that the amount of prepaid mobile recharges have gone down by 30-50 percent post demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes.
Interestingly, COAI reportedly sent a written statement to Telecom Department asking for telecom service providers to accept Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes till the new currency notes are available easily.
"Given the increasing hardships being faced by ordinary citizens in ordering their normal daily activities, we believe this permission extended to TSPs will go a long way in ameliorating citizen's difficulties relating to obtaining and using communication services," said COAI in a statement.
In our opinion, this decision would help curb the difficulties faced by an ordinary person in his/her day-to-day activities. Further, yesterday Government of India also extended the date to 15th December for use of Rs 500 notes in places where it allowed earlier. Moreover, now people can also recharge their prepaid network by paying in old Rs 500 denominations. However, the facility to exchange is now gone and Rs 1000 notes cannot be used anywhere starting today.