TELECOM WARS — NO FLOOR PRICE FOR VOICE AND DATA, SAYS TRAI

Reliance Jio has emerged victorious in its fight with top three incumbent operators on the issue of tariffs as TRAI has decided to continue with current forbearance regime and not fixing any floor price for voice and data…

NEW DELHI, JULY 22, 2017: Mobile consumers currently enjoying the benefits of low tariffs will continue to pay less for making calls as the the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has decided to continue with the current forbearance regime of fixing mobile tariffs. The telecom sector regulator has decided not to pursue the demand of top three incumbents — Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular — of having a minimum floor price for voice and data.

“There were detailed discussions for about two hours (between the operators) and the consensus at the end of the meeting was that for the time being, as of now, we do not see the need to pursue the idea of fixing a floor price,” TRAI Chairman R.S. Sharma said after the meeting held last week.

The top three incumbent operators had asked TRAI to to fix a minimum price for voice and data tariffs so that free offers as being offered by new player Reliance Jio do not hurt the industry in the long run. However, Reliance Jio had countered this demand saying that the market should be allowed to fix the prices for voice and data.

Mr. Sharma said operators reached a consensus that fixing of floor price is not a “workable idea” at the moment. “At the end of the meeting, we all decided collectively that as of now we do not need to forgo the principal of forbearance, which has been accepted and has been working effectively for the last 14 years,” he added. Under the forbearance regime, telcos have the freedom to fix for the services, on the ground that it does not go against TRAI’s regulatory principles, including IUC, non-discrimination and non-predation.


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