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New tariff plan is not a new service: Voda Idea counters TRAI

Vodafone Idea Ltd (VIL) has justified its pay-more-for-priority-experience plan offered to its subscribers, and also said that telecom operators face a double whammy of having to make continuous investments in an era of call and data charges falling way below cost due to cut-throat competition.

Responding to questions raised by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) over the priority plan, Vodafone Idea argued that a new tariff plan is not a new service.

VIL has countered Trai’s contention that the RedX plan, which commits higher speeds, should have been informed separately so different aspects could have been examined before such service was launched.

“It is not a new service and the service remains same… A new tariff plan is not a new service,” VIL said in its reply to Trai on the priority plan.
Vodafone Idea also flagged the financial stress being faced by operators like itself. It said the operators “have been compelled to reduce prices and go below costs with a double whammy of making continuous investments in the networks to cater to unprecedented increase in data usage arising out of below costs tariffs”.

PTI has seen a copy of VIL’s submissions to Trai.An e-mail sent to Vodafone Idea Ltd did not elicit a response.

VIL has urged the regulator to consider periodic reporting on the service quality and and other material provided by the company “to objectively arrive at its query/ conclusions”.
“The overall better experience to subscribers is the purpose of the tariff plan and we respectfully submit that start point of the question cannot be: ‘induce customers to opt for REDX’. This is not the sentiment shared by consumers,” VIL said in reply to a specific query.

Trai had asked the company if any deterioration in services for non-RedX (non priority) subscribers could induce them to opt for RedX plan (priority plan) to get access to internet and particularly for crucial applications such as childrens’ education.

VIL emphasised that its network has seen substatial capacity augmentation, resuting in more efficient use of spectrum and better services despite unprecedented traffic growth. VIL said proportion of RedX customers is a “very miniscule fraction” of overall 4G base. Millennium Post

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