The Indian telecom regulator, Trai will question Airtel and will ask for more details on the offers which it has rolled out for specific customers and on linked plans, detailed a ET Telecom report. The Trai official said that the regulator would look deeply into the offers which Airtel provided to select customers based on certain conditions and on a segmented basis. A senior official from Trai said, “Bharti Airtel has not submitted all the details asked for, including linked plans on which concessions were made.” He also added, “We’ll ask them for such details which are readily available in their billing system.”
Vodafone Idea Asks for Extra Time to Submit Details
Not only Bharti Airtel but also other telcos, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea will also be asked for more details during the ongoing examination of information on segmented offers. It is worth noting that Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel had submitted the details on segmented offers to the sector regulator by the April 25 deadline, but the market leader Vodafone Idea had asked for 15 more days to provide the same details given the recent merger between Vodafone India and Idea Cellular which together presently form the telecom giant.
The Trai official, however, added that during its submission of the required details, Bharti Airtel had not given the complete information to the authority and had instead only handed over the price points and the number of users availing segmented offers for examination. A person aware of the matter said Airtel withheld information while handing it over to Trai which included parameters like customer names and addresses. The likely reason why Airtel did this was due to the risk of losing competitiveness in the market. The telco had followed the order of the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) on this regard.
Trai to Move Court Against TDSAT Order
The Trai official said that the regulator needed the data for transparency purposes and because it wants to keep records. The regulator will have the records in case a consumer lodges a complaint, after which the particular offer will be tracked down, and telcos won’t be able to run away from the clutches of the regulator. The Trai official said, “The idea is to see whether the offers have been classified rightly, discouraging non-discrimination, and to see if all consumers falling under a similar category would be getting it as per the constitutional provision.”
To recall, Mukesh Ambani led telecom operator, Reliance Jio had come to the regulator with a complaint against the rival telcos Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel saying that these telecom operators were offering segmented and customised plans to retain subscribers. In an opposing move, Trai had restricted telcos from making such offers any longer citing that they were discriminatory. The operators had challenged the regulator’s order in TDSAT which quashed the Trai order but allowed the operator to gather details on these offers.