Vodafone Idea has informed the telecom regulator TRAI that its premium tariff plan under which some subscribers are being given higher speeds has no impact on the quality of service being given to its other subscribers. The operator maintains that usage on its premium plan, REDX and the number of such subscribers is only a small fraction and therefore this has no impact on overall network throughput. VIL has told the TRAI that it has been able to manage its network in a way that the premium service did not impact other subscribers on its network.
The TRAI had recently asked Vodafone Idea to explain the premium tariff plan which the operator had launched last year. The regulator had initially asked the operator to stop taking new subscribers under the premium plan.
But the Telecom Dispute Settlement Appellate Tribunal stayed the regulator’s order even as it allowed TRAI to continue with its investigation. The key aspect of this investigation is whether the promise of higher speed to premium customers is impacting the quality of service being provided to other users.
At the customer level, the average speeds experienced by REDX customer is at least 1.5 times that of Non-REDX customer.
“As mentioned earlier, various factors which are beyond the control of operator can determine actual delivery of speed to the customers. The same has been duly informed to customers. These factors are the nature of handset, location of access server locations, server performance, topography etc. REDX subscribers have better experience in terms of speed as offered. No impact on non REDX due to REDX priority feature, their speeds have overall increased, with no perceptible difference between overall network download speeds and non-REDX download speeds,” Vodafone Idea said in its submission to TRAI.
VIL has also told the regulator that it uses a specific mechanism under the global 3GPP standards governing 4G LTE networks to offer faster speeds and priority network access to RedX users. This, it said, ensures faster data transmission for the specific set of users during congestion without spoiling network experience of other users since both RedX and non-RedX subscribers have common network resources and enjoy same traffic treatment for core operations – signalling, transmission and VoLTE services.
TRAI is examining whether the mix of faster data speeds and network priority access services offered under VIL’s RedX and Bharti Airtel’s Platinum offers degrade services quality of VIL and Airtel users not on these plans.