TRAI Widens Probe into Telcos Predatory Pricing and Unlimited Offers

The regulator directed Jio and Bharti to stop offering unlimited data in their 5G tariff plans. However, the two telcos have pointed out to TRAI that Vodafone Idea has been guilty of the same in its 4G plans. The regulator rejected Vodafone Idea's allegation that Jio and Bharti are engaging in predatory pricing, as their tariffs are not below cost.

Highlights

  • TRAI has launched a comprehensive investigation into all past and current tariff plans of all telecom operators in the country.
  • The investigation aims to determine whether the telecom operators have violated regulatory guidelines in the past.
  • Although tariffs are generally under forbearance, TRAI examines them usually a week after the new plans are filed with it.

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India's telecom regulator, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), has launched a comprehensive investigation into all past and current tariff plans of all telecom operators in the country, including their 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G plans, said a Financial Express report. The investigation aims to determine whether the telecom operators have violated regulatory guidelines by offering "unlimited" plans or engaging in predatory pricing. This marks the first time that the regulator has initiated such an extensive probe into all past tariff plans.

Although tariffs are generally under forbearance, TRAI usually examines them a week after the new plans are filed with it. However, officials have conceded that the regulator may have missed identifying any violations. The investigation began after Vodafone Idea filed a complaint against Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel, alleging that the two were offering unlimited data plans as part of their 5G services and that they were indulging in predatory pricing by offering 5G services at 4G rates.

The regulator directed Jio and Bharti to stop offering unlimited data in their 5G tariff plans. However, the two telcos have pointed out to TRAI that Vodafone Idea has been guilty of the same in its 4G plans. The regulator rejected Vodafone Idea's allegation that Jio and Bharti are engaging in predatory pricing, as their tariffs are not below cost.

Read More - TRAI Expands Investigation Into All Past Tariffs Offered by Telcos

Therefore, TRAI is now investigating the past and current tariff plans of all telecom operators in the country to find out whether any of them have at some point violated the regulatory guidelines. The officials have said that the investigation needs to find out when it all started and who were the first ones to start offering unlimited plans or indulge in predatory pricing.

The investigation will also examine Vodafone Idea's past and current tariff plans to assess whether it has offered unlimited data plans in the past or is doing so currently. The officials have said that any order on predatory pricing or unlimited offers must be all-encompassing, which is why the probe has been expanded to cover all past offers made by the telecom operators.

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Tanuja is a passionate technology and telecom buff who has been following the telecom industry for several years now.

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