Dial ‘199’ for Voda help from August


New Delhi: Vodafone has started offering its customer care service on a new number, 199, as its current one, 111, will stop working by July 31.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had asked the company on March 2 to stop use of 111 number as it violated the national numbering plan. Vodafone was asked to submit a compliance report by March 10, but later TRAI extended it to April 30.

“Vodafone India… has informed the Authority that they have launched their new helpline service at level 199 on April 19, 2015,” TRAI said in its direction notice to Vodafone in a late-night statement on Thursday. In line with TRAI’s direction to the company, the Department of Telecom had issued the ‘National Numbering Plan 2003’ where 111 to 115 were not allocated to any type of services and kept as ‘spare’.

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However, the regulator found Vodafone asking customers on its website to call 111 to get Internet settings on their handset for pre-paid data offers, post-paid 3G data packs, self-help for data services, Blackberry Internet offers and to find out balance. However, TRAI has agreed to Vodafone’s request to operate 111 customer helpline till July 31 as calls to this number would reduce gradually.

TRAI said it “directs Vodafone India to furnish the compliance report of the direction dated 2nd March 2015 latest by 31st July 2015 and take suitable action to inform the consumer regarding change in helpline number so that no inconvenience is caused to them”.