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Monday, September 28, 2020

TRAI: ‘Incorrect to say Jio plaint triggered probe into premium service plans of other telcos’

The main issue, the regulator said, was that offers of ‘priority on network “may unilaterally alter the service quality of other customers without any communication to them”.

Written by Aashish Aryan | New Delhi | July 17, 2020 3:08:00 am
On Tuesday, Trai had sought a day’s time to respond to the plea filed by Vodafone Idea. (Image: Reuters)

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has told the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) that the probe into the premium service plans on offer by Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea was not based on any complaint made by Reliance Jio Infocomm.

“It is incorrect to say that the examination is on the basis of complaint from Jio. It is not the case that Jio’s complaint has triggered TRAI’s actions… pertinently, the investigation into tariff offers promising priority service to those who opt for the same precedes complaint by Jio,” Trai said in a short reply filed with the TDSAT.

On Tuesday, Trai had sought a day’s time to respond to the plea filed by Vodafone Idea. The company had on Monday moved a plea in TDSAT against a letter written to it and Bharti Airtel, in which Trai had asked them not to go ahead with their premium service offerings for the time being as it had received complaints of the new plans “violating existing quality norms”.

“Upon a bare perusal of the questionnaire, it transpires that the questions demonstrate a common theme that is ‘what the appellant (Vodafone Idea) is up to and how it is going to do what it is offering to do?”, Trai said in its reply.

The main issue, the regulator said, was that offers of ‘priority on network “may unilaterally alter the service quality of other customers without any communication to them”.

“As such, protection of interest of such consumers who have been assured best effort service is a matter of concern for TRAI,” the regulator said in its reply.

Meanwhile, after hearing both the parties on Thursday, the TDSAT reserved its order on whether to stay Trai’s direction to both the companies to withhold premium services, and if Reliance Jio could be allowed to be impleaded as a party. The order is likely to be pronounced on Friday.

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