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TRAI bars telcos from offering differential prices for portability customers

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has barred operators as well as channel partners from making differential tariff offers for customers coming through mobile number portability (MNP) route. It stated that such offerings are ‘discriminatory’.

TRAI on Thursday stated, “The offering of differential tariff to the subscribers porting from the network of other service provider is not a valid and reasonable classification as the motive behind such classification is apparently to induce churn from the competitors’ network and which is discriminatory and contravenes the provisions of Clause 10 of TTO, 1999.”

It asked telcos to only offer tariffs that have been reported to TRAI. The regulator stated that all tariffs must comply with “extant TRAI regulations/directions/orders”. The responsibility of ensuring compliance with TRAI’s orders will remain with the service provider.

The regulator stated that it had in the past received complaints from service providers against each other on allegations of MNP-specific tariff being provided by the rival. However, these allegations have been denied by each of them. Nevertheless, some service providers also said that their channel partners might have given such MNP-specific offers without the consent or authorisation of service providers.

TRAI also stated that some channel partners/ distributors/ retailers/ third-party apps are non-licenced entities appointed by the service providers. Hence it remains the service providers’ responsibility to ensure adherence to TRAI’s orders.

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