The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is in a difficult position with regard to the 5G unlimited data offer. The regulatory body is confused about what is the right way to go ahead. Indian telecom operators who have launched 5G are offering unlimited 5G data to their select 4G customers. Looking at this, Vodafone Idea (Vi) earlier complained to the sector regulator about the unbalance that the unlimited 5G data offer is creating in the industry.
It is worth noting that currently, there are no rules in place which say that the telcos can't offer unlimited data offer to their customers. However, the role of the sector regulator is such that if any unlimited data offer is creating chaos in the industry, which is not good for the long-term growth of the sector, then it can take action to stop such an offer.
According to an ET Telecom report, a former TRAI official said that if the telcos were asked to stop their unlimited 5G data offer, then it must happen after a consultation process to avoid being challenged in the courts. TRAI has not taken a final decision on the matter yet. The body is considering several options right now. One is, of course, to direct the telcos to completely stop the unlimited 5G data offer.
But the second one is to ask the operators to fix a data limit such as 400-500GB. Since 5G is not the predominant technology and the use cases are very much limited to browsing and watching videos for consumers, this much data won't be exhausted by a consumer. Both Airtel and Jio have said defended their move by saying that they are not doing anything wrong.
For the telcos, it also makes sense not to charge for 5G right now. They are still working on delivering better 5G coverage, and until that happens, charging for it won't sit well with the customers. Further, there's no immediate need for 5G for consumers.