At a time when the telecom sector is witnessing an intense tariff battle, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued a consultation paper for a comprehensive review of the tariff assessment process. The paper aims to define promotional offers and also deals with the other important elements of tariff assessment.
With the consultation paper, TRAI aims to bring more clarity in interpretation of its principles as the existing features are not well defined in the tariff order.
This announcement comes after incumbent telcos Vodafone India, Idea Cellular, Bharti Airtel moved the court against TRAI for extending Reliance Jio's promotional offer that provides free unlimited data and calling to users till March 31.
Telecom industry body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) hailed the paper calling for discussions are issue of transparency, non-discrimination and anti-competitive behaviour.
COAI Director General, Rajan Mathews welcomed TRAI decision to bring CEOs of telecom industry to the table to discuss matters on the regulatory agenda for the year going forward. “TRAI has picked this issue of tarrifs because it is roiling the markets at present. It is an apt and an appropriate decision,” Mathews told CNBC-TV18.
The prevalent guidelines on promotional offers are limited to the eligibility condition and the opening and closing dates of such offers. They are silent on issues like the number of promotional offers that can be offered in a calendar year and the repetition of offers.
Other issues that the paper tries to address include transparency, disclosures, definition of non-predatory and predatory pricing.
TRAI seeks views of the industry regarding the typeof tariff offers that can qualify as promotional offers and the restriction of the number of offers a telco can provide in a year.
Disclosure: Reliance Industries, which owns Reliance Jio, also owns Network18 and moneycontrol.com
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