India’s telecom regulator TRAI has issued a directive banning all licensed telecom operator in India from offering differential (or discriminatory) tariffs to a set or class of subscribers. TRAI also ordered telcos to “invariably” file all new tariff packs to the regulator after being offered in the market. Telecommunication Tariff Order 1999, has forbidden this practice, but TRAI says that it went ahead with the directive after it received several complaints wherein telcos were found to offer discriminatory tariffs without filing it with the regulator. Currently, the tariff regime allows telcos to launch the packs first and then file it with TRAI for compliance. Note that TRAI had looked at redefining the meaning of “discriminatory” in the context of tariff packs in its consultation paper on promo packs in February. TRAI said that some telcos were found offering free data to only new subscribers or at special rates (differing from normal packs). “However, since these special rates are not available to the existing subscribers, it can also be termed as discriminatory,” TRAI added. Telcos including the top 3 operators Airtel, Idea and Vodafone have been selling differential tariff packs to its subscriber for some time now. Airtel has been increasingly offering user-personalized 4G packs with bundled voice, but the amount of data and other recharge benefits differ on the basis of: i)Type of device owned: 3G or 4G smartphone users ii) Type of User: High value or low-value user, or on the basis of less voice/data usage or more voice/data…
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