TRAI Moves Supreme Court Against Tribunal Order On Predatory Pricing
A customer holds a SIM card packet while waiting to connect his mobile phone to the carrier Reliance Jio. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

TRAI Moves Supreme Court Against Tribunal Order On Predatory Pricing

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The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India approached the Supreme Court against Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal order, which dismissed its predatory pricing tariff rule, Parliament was informed on Wednesday.

“TRAI has filed an appeal before the Supreme Court against the order of TDSAT dated Dec. 13. The appeal is yet to be listed,” Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha said in a written reply to Lok Sabha.

Under the predatory pricing tariff rule, TRAI had barred telecom operator with over 30 percent market share, offering services at a price which is below the average cost of service to reduce competition or eliminate the competitors.

The regulator also said telecom operators will have to provide services to all subscribers availing the same tariff plan in a non-discriminatory manner. However, the same was dismissed by TDSAT citing lack of transparency in the guidelines over determining market share and rates of services.

In February, TRAI said it will impose a financial disincentive of up to Rs 50 lakh per circle on operators if their service rates are found to be predatory in nature. The amendment was issued after old telecom operators Airtel, Vodafone and Idea alleged that Reliance Jio is offering services at predatory rates.

Also read: TRAI Slaps Fine On Jio, Airtel, Others For Not Meeting Service Quality Norms

Sinha said that transparency in tariff is and has always been an issue of prime concern for the government and to protect the interests of the consumers of telecommunications services, the regulator has issued several tariff orders, directions and guidelines in order to ensure transparency in tariff offers from time-to-time.

“However, despite these measures to ensure transparency in tariff, the TRAI has been receiving complaints from consumers and consumer organisations highlighting, inter-alia, lack of transparency in the tariff offer of telecom service providers,” Sinha said.

TRAI does not handle individual consumer complaints but the complaints received from consumers are forwarded to the concerned telecom operators for appropriate action.

Data shared by the telecom minister shows that the number of consumer complaints received by the regulator increased in 2018. Till Dec. 20, TRAI received 1,316 complaints from consumers, while in 2017, the regulator received 1,055 complaints.

Also read: TRAI Asks Operators Not To Snap Services Of Customers With Enough Balance

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