Airtel and Vi (formerly Vodafone Idea) have discontinued their “priority” 4G plans that they claimed would give users who pay more money faster speeds. The telcos’ websites no longer display postpaid plans that include faster 4G. We have reached out to the companies to find out when they pulled these plans. PTI reported on Sunday that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India dropped an investigation into the tariffs after Vi pulled out. We have reached out to Vi and Airtel for confirmation.
TRAI had first launched an investigation on July 11 into these premium tariff plans after Jio complained about them to the regulator on July 8. The regulator raised concerns around how wireless telcos could guarantee any speeds at all, let alone faster speeds, and how regular users would be impacted by more bandwidth being dedicated for premium subscribers. Vi initially went to the telecom tribunal to challenge TRAI’s hold on its plans amid the investigation, and even obtained a stay; but it now seems to have dropped plans for the faster 4G feature altogether. TRAI’s increasingly probing lines of questioning reportedly exasperated Airtel too. Both telcos, it seems, have chosen to drop priority 4G plans altogether.
One week after Vi was reported on September 17 to have removed references to priority 4G on its website, Jio announced its first significant foray into postpaid wireless plans. Like Airtel and Vodafone’s plans, Jio is bundling streaming services to attract higher-ARPU customers. But the company isn’t promising faster speeds for them, and now, neither are its competitors.