PTI May 24, 2018 08:56 AM IST
Close on the heels of unveiling its plan-comparison portal, TRAI directed on 23 May that all telecom operators to start online filing of all tariffs offered to consumers in a specific format from 30 June but industry body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) flagged concerns on inadequate implementation of the timeline.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said it has launched a beta version of online tariff filing portal to enable consumers to view plans of all service providers and compare them.
"Now, therefore, in exercise of powers conferred upon it... and to protect the interest of the consumers of telecom sector, the authority hereby directs all the access service providers to report to the authority with effect from the 30 June 2018, through XML API web-service, all the tariffs offered to the consumers, in addition to the existing tariff reporting requirements," TRAI said in its directive.
The purpose of this is to enable operators to push their respective tariff data to TRAI server in a pre-defined format.
The larger implication of the directive on segmented offers still remained somewhat unclear, although the regulators latest instructions do not explicitly mention reporting on customised or segmented plans, an area where operators, last month, got a relief from the telecom tribunal.
When contacted, industry body COAI said that the regulator had offered limited time for complying with the new directions and noted that the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) order of April had been clear on the issues like a segmented offering.
"TRAI is clearly entitled to ask for information, but it needs to be read and understood under the overall directions and order of TDSAT on the matter of tariff reporting," Rajan S Mathews, Director General of COAI, said.
He said the changed format and aligning the back-end configuration will require more time to be given to operators.
"We also feel that matters like tariff comparison information (and products) are best left to the private sector as in case of aviation, rather than falling in the regulators domain," Mathews said.
It may be recalled that telecom tribunal, last month, put an interim stay on reporting requirement of segmented offers and the new definition for ascertaining significant market power for predatory pricing by TRAI, offering a relief to old operators.
The TDSAT interim order also placed a qualifier on the reporting requirements, saying the Trai will be entitled to ask for details of segmented discounts or concessions "for analysis" but that "no penalty shall be imposed on that basis" till further orders are given in the ongoing appeals by Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular.