| ETTelecom | May 1, 2019, 09:00PM IST
NEW DELHI: The telecom regulator will demand more details from the country’s second largest mobile operator Bharti Airtel about the various tariff plans it offers to its customers, including concessions offered to specific individuals and on linked plans, a Trai official said.
“Bharti Airtel has not submitted all the details asked for, including linked plans on which concessions were made,” a senior official at Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) told ET. “We’ll ask them for such details which are readily available in their billing system.”
Trai will also summon executives of rival telcos Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio while examining details of their segmented offers, the official said.
Jio and Airtel had submitted details concerning segmented offers to the regulator by the deadline of April 25, while Vodafone Idea had asked for 15 more days to submit its details due to the recent merger between Vodafone India and Idea Cellular.
However, in its submissons,Sunil Mittal-driven Airtel had withheld some specific details sought by Trai, and only shared price points and the number of users availing segmented offers to the sector regulator, the official said.
Bharti Airtel declined to comment on the matter.
A person familiar with the matter had earlier told ET that Airtel did not share all the specific details, including customer names and addresses, because such data would have compromised on its competitiveness in the market. The mobile operator had gone with what Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) had ordered, the person had said.
The Trai official cited earlier said the regulator needed specific details in the interests of transparency, which will benefit all consumers. The entire exercise is for record keeping purposes, so that in a scenario where the regulator gets any complaint from consumers, the said offer can be easily tracked and operators could not get away with it, he said.
“The idea is to see whether the offers have been classified rightly, discouraging non-discrimination, and to see if all consumers falling under a similar category would be getting it as per the constitutional provision,” the Trai official said.
Telcos, the official said, have already clarified before TDSAT they were not offering such offers on a non-discriminatory basis, and for the cause, they should dig out relevant information for all 22 telecom circles across 25 plans they offer.
Billionaire Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Jio, after its disruptive foray in September 2016, had knocked the regulator’s door against rivals Airtel, Vodafone and Idea, accusing them of offering customised plans, or segmented offers, to retain subscribers.
Trai, in turn, barred telcos from making such special offers to select users, saying it leads to discrimination.
Incumbent telcos then challenged the regulator’s order in the telecom tribunal, which last December quashed the Trai’s directive, but allowed it to seek basic details.
However, Trai has filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against the TDSAT verdict, which is ongoing.