Vodafone Idea files plea with TDSAT challenging TRAI order to stop premium plan

Our Bureau. Mumbai | Updated on July 13, 2020 Published on July 13, 2020

Vodafone Idea has filed a plea with the Telecom Dispute Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT), challenging the order by the telecom regulator asking it to stop offering premium plan.

Red X tariff plan

In November 2019, the operator had launched a premium tariff plan called Red X that offered higher data speeds. The plan was priced at about ₹1,000 a month. This plan was filed with the TRAI in November and also in May this year when the operator tweaked the tariffs. Airtel also launched a plan under which post-paid users who paid over ₹500 a month would get higher data speeds. However, it was only after Reliance Jio sent a note to the regulator on July 7 that the regulator issued a notice to the operators.

In its note to TRAI, Reliance Jio said the offer made by Vodafone Idea and Airtel could be misleading and discriminatory because in a wireless network no operator can give guarantee for offering minimum data speeds. It said that since mobile operators use spectrum, which is a shared resource, offering higher speed to specific set of users would impact the other users in the area being serviced by the same operator. RJio, in its letter, said it wanted to get the TRAI’s approval for such tariff plans before launching a similar plan of its own.

Soon after receiving this letter from Reliance Jio, TRAI shot off a letter to Vodafone Idea on July 11 (which was a Saturday) to not only respond to the points raised by Reliance Jio but also to stop offering the Red X plan until a final decision is taken. Airtel was also told to pause its new premium plan.

Industry experts said that while the tariff plan being offered by Vodafone Idea and Airtel should be examined by TRAI, the process could have been more consultative. “Vodafone has been offering the service for eight months, so it is not clear why the regulator sent a notice on a Saturday asking the operator to comply with its order within 24 hours,” said an industry veteran.

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Published on July 13, 2020
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