The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has barred operators from offering customised plans to customers who were leaving them for another network. The decision came soon after Reliance filed an accusation against fellow operators like Airtel, Vodafone and Idea for offering discriminatory offers to individual customers within the same class.
“To ensure that all the tariffs offered to the consumers shall be in accordance with the provisions of Telecommunication Tariff Order, 1999 and shall not be discriminatory between the subscribers of the same class and to ensure that every tariff that is offered to a customer is invariably reported to the Authority as per reporting framework under the forbearance regime unless an express exemption has been provided in the Telecommunication Tariff Order, 1999,” TRAI in a two-page order on Thursday.
The telecom regulator further stated that all the operators are required to report all plans to TRAI within seven working days of introducing them. TRAI also added that it has received complaints that some service providers are launching tariffs without filing it with Authority and “offering discriminatory tariff to individual customers within the same class.”
The whole situation came into limelight after Reliance Jio accused other operators that they were providing customised plans to retain their customers. Reliance Jio claims that these operators are misleading their customers by offering a different offer to each customer who is planning to leave their network. These offers are never made available to general public, hence, being unfair to other users. For instance, if I being an Airtel user, plans to leave my present network for say Reliance Jio, Airtel will offer me certain benefits which are not available to anyone else.
However, TRAI Chairman, RS Sharma said, “If someone tries to leave, people will tell him ours is the best network, that is part of the business. (But) I don’t think any operator should be given a plan which is not given to TRAI…or is not a part of their standard set of plans.”
As per Reliance Jio, operators like Airtel and Vodafone have crossed the limit of 25 plans (including both Prepaid and Postpaid) which breaches the regulations imposed by TRAI. However, the fellow operators have denied Reliance Jio’s allegations claiming otherwise.