TRAI Grants Vodafone Idea Time Till Sept. 8 To Respond To Priority Plan Show-Cause Notice
A member of the public awaits entry to a Vodafone Group Plc mobile phone store in Reading, U.K. (Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg)

TRAI Grants Vodafone Idea Time Till Sept. 8 To Respond To Priority Plan Show-Cause Notice

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The telecom regulator has granted additional time till Sept. 8 to Vodafone Idea Ltd. to reply to its show-cause notice on priority plan after the carrier sought more time to respond.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India last month had slapped a show-cause notice on Vodafone Idea over its pay-more-for-priority treatment mobile plan, saying the tariff offer "lacks transparency" and is "misleading" and not in compliance with the regulatory framework.

The regulator had initially given time till Aug. 31 to Vodafone Idea to respond, but later extended the deadline to Sept. 4 following the company's request.

A source privy to the development told PTI that Vodafone Idea again wrote to the regulator stating at least 15 days are needed to respond to the elaborate 17-page show-cause notice that was issued on Aug. 25.

So, TRAI has now agreed to extend the deadline to Sept. 8 and communicated the same to the telecom company, the source said.

An email sent to Vodafone Idea did not elicit a response.

Also read: AGR Case: Supreme Court Gives Telecom Operators 10 Years To Pay Pending Dues

The regulator, which had been probing Vodafone Idea's priority plan, had issued a show-cause notice asking the company "why appropriate action should not be initiated against it for violating the extant regulatory framework by its RedX tariff plan..."

"The RedX tariff offer lacks transparency and is misleading and not in compliance with regulatory principles of tariff assessment contained under Telecom Tariff Order, 1999 as amended from time to time," the regulator said in its show-cause notice.

The sector regulator is also of the view that the "claim of Vodafone Idea for providing 'Priority 4G Network with faster data speeds' is not in compliance with the extant regulatory framework..."

It said the RedX tariff offer is in contravention of specific clauses of the Telecom Tariff Order relating to protection of interests of the consumers.

Vodafone Idea's RedX tariff offer "violates the terms of license agreement" and is not consistent with stipulated technical specifications, TRAI had said, adding that it also did not comply with the service quality norms.

TRAI had been examining Vodafone Idea's priority plan RedX and Bharti Airtel Ltd.'s platinum offering to see if network preference to specific customers leads to deterioration of services for other non-premium subscribers or violates any norms.

Bharti Airtel, however, was not issued a show-cause notice for its platinum plan. Bharti Airtel offered to abide by TRAI's views and also voluntarily modified its platinum offering suitably, and hence the regulator is not proceeding with further investigation on that.

Also read: Vodafone Idea Board Approves Raising Up To Rs 25,000 Crore

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