Telecom regulator TRAI has sought a reply from Bharti Airtel over complaints that the leading operator allegedly offered discriminatory tariffs and not reported these to the authority.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in a letter today asked Bharti Airtel to explain within 10 days whether the company has indeed offered the tariff plans under question to consumers and in how many service areas.
In the letter, seen by PTI, TRAI has also sought details of service area wise launch dates for these tariffs.
TRAI in amendments to the Telecommunication Tariff order last month barred telecom operators from offering predatory and discriminatory rates for telecom services.
“No service provider shall, in any manner, discriminate between subscribers of the same class and such classification of the subscribers shall not be arbitrary,” as per the rules.
Reliance Jio Infocomm had filed a complaint with TRAI against Bharti Airtel alleging that the telecom major violated tariff rules by issuing misleading offers and arbitrarily discriminating among its own customers subscribing to the same plan.
When contacted, Airtel spokesperson said, “Airtel confirmed that it has received the notice. The company said that the matter is sub-judice and pending in the TDSAT and it will submit its reply as per timelines.” The regulator has further questioned Bharti Airtel on whether these tariff plans under scrutiny have been reported to TRAI, as the norms stipulate.
“…Whether these tariff offers have been reported to TRAI and if so (LSA wise) the date of reporting,” TRAI said.
It has also questioned the company on the “criteria for classification of the consumers for availing these tariff offers” and sought details of the benefits that accrue to the consumers opting for the tariffs in question.
TRAI has also asked the company to provide service area wise details of the number of consumers who have opted for the tariff offers, and instructed the company to file its reply on all these issues “within ten days”.
Taking note of the complaints of non-reporting and allegations of discriminatory tariffs, TRAI said that there has been “no exemption” on filing of retail tariffs with the authority and that the TTO amendment also “has not introduced any material change in the stated position”.
“…it is stated that your plea for a stay on the 63rd Amendment to the TTO has not been agreed to by the TDSAT (Telecom Dispute Settlement and Appellate Tribunal) as is evident from the TDSAT order,” the letter said.