TRAI order on premium tariffs quashed – for now

TRAI order on premium tariffs quashed – for now

Vodafone Idea made a lot of disgruntled noises following a regulatory block on its RedX premium tariff plan. It seems the Indian operator was not alone in being unhappy with the order from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), as it has now been stayed.

India’s Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) was impressively blunt about the reasons for staying the telecom regulator's 11 July order blocking Vodafone Idea’s RedX premium tariff plan. The RedX plan promises a dedicated network with priority access and has been in existence for about eight months.

According to Indian press reports, TDSAT said late last week that the TRAI directive suspending VIL's RedX plan “lacks even prima facie reasons”, adding that the watchdog's justification that a halt would allow detailed examination of the offer is “without merit”. TRAI apparently wanted to check whether the plans caused any deterioration in quality of service to other customers. The regulatory decision had been prompted by a complaint from a competitor, Reliance Jio Infocomm.

TRAI had also asked Bharti Airtel to suspend its similar Platinum plan until the regulator had completed its inquiry. It’s not clear whether this request remains enforceable.

So the inquiry looks like going ahead but the Vodafone Idea scheme will be able to continue for now, as, perhaps, will Bharti Airtel’s similar scheme. News reports indicate that the regulator hopes to complete its enquiry in about two weeks.

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