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Submit Details Of Discounted Tariffs By 18 April, TRAI Tells Telecom Firms

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued a fresh direction to telecom companies—including Bharti Airtel Ltd, Vodafone Idea Ltd and Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd—asking them to submit by 18 April details of discounted tariffs offered to their customers in the last financial year. The regulator has directed them to mention the name and validity of offers and the number of subscribers who signed up for them.

It has sought these details on a monthly basis for each telecom circle from April-March 2019. Thereafter, for each month from April 2019, TRAI has asked operators to submit these details within 10 working days from the last day of the month. Disclosing segmented or discounted offers has become a bone of contention in the telecom sector.

In February 2018, TRAI had directed telcos to disclose segmented offers and set the penalty for violations at Rs. 5,000 for every day of delay, with a maximum penalty of Rs. 2 lakh. The firms had then argued that information on segmented offers were a trade secret and its disclosure would help rivals.

The telecom firms then moved the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT), which issued an order on 13 December stating that operators no longer needed to disclose segmented offers or discounted tariffs to the regulator.

The order said that instead of telcos reporting all segmented offers/discounts, TRAI may call for details of any segmented offer about which it receives complaints. Moreover, the regulator cannot impose any penalty and should reconsider the provisions related to predatory pricing and segmented offers within six months, TDSAT had ruled.

In Wednesday’s directive, TRAI also asked operators to submit a declaration that the benefits of such segmented offers have been made available to all the existing customers falling in the segment and the principle of non-discrimination has been strictly followed.

“Our members are studying the direction issued by TRAI and they will subsequently discuss and directly engage with TRAI on the feasibility of the same,” said Rajan Mathews, Director General of Cellular Operators Association of India.―Livemint

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