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TRAI to discuss minimum floor price with all telcos on July 21: Report

The regulator is likely to take some firm decision on the minimum floor price, as demanded by a section of incumbent telcos.

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) might meet all the telecom operators on July 21 to discuss ‘minimum floor price’ for voice and data tariffs in the country. The regulator is likely to take some firm decision on the minimum floor price, as demanded by a section of incumbent telcos.
The ‘minimum floor price’ means to set aminimum tariff for voice calls and data. If this is implemented then all the operators have to provide voice and data tariffs at a minimum price, which has been mutually decided with the regulator and operators. The move could bring an end to freebies, which different operators like Reliance Jio and Airtel are giving for a while, in the market. According to a report by PTI, the regulator will ask the operators to explain their views on ‘minimum floor price’ and the report highlights that TRAI might come with a formulation or math for the fixing such a rate.
The regulator has reportedly asked all the telecom operators to come up with a detailed presentation to support their arguments on this topic. To recall, different operators asked the regulator in June this year to come up with a minimum floor price. Ever since the launch of Jio in the telecom industry, the tariff has become the big issue. The company’s predatory pricing has resulted in a financial loss of incumbent operators.
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Previously, TRAI said that it will bring new rules for predatory pricing. “We are coming up with a set of regulatory principles on tariff in a month to 1.5-month’s timeframe,” TRAI secretary Sudhir Gupta told ET, adding that the sector regulator was reviewing the Telecommunication Tariff Order (TTO) 1999 to bring clarity on pricing.
TRAI has taken this step in order to bring in transparency in tariff assessments of telecom service providers after major telecom companies Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea and Reliance Jio blame each other of predatory pricing.
However, if the regulator takes a firm decision on minimum floor pricing of voice and data benefits, Reliance Jio will be the most affected operator, it seems. The brand is known for offering aggressive free voice calls and unlimited data since its inception. Other telecoms players like Airtel, Vodafone and Idea will also have to end all the freebies, they are offering in order to maintain their user base.

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