View on Plans

The Economic Times - - Companies: Pursuit Of Profit - Gul­veen.Aulakh@

Trai’s let­ter to tel­cos dated July 26 said… It will mon­i­tor the pi­lot run for a ‘rea­son­able pe­riod’ Would grad­u­ally do away with the re­quire­ment of fil­ing phys­i­cal copies with the reg­u­la­tor New Delhi: The tele­com reg­u­la­tor has asked all car­ri­ers to sub­mit their tar­iff plans on­line from Au­gust 1, be­sides fil­ing their hard copies, within seven work­ing days of the an­nounce­ment, and is likely to put all such rates in the pub­lic do­main by year end, in ef­forts aimed at more trans­parency and ef­fi­ciency.

By the year end, the reg­u­la­tor ex­pects to make all tar­iffs filed on its web­site, open for pub­lic, which would en­able con­sumers to see all tar­iff plans and even com­pare them on a sin­gle plat­form, rather than look­ing up the tar­iff plans on each telco’s web­site, a se­nior of­fi­cial in the Tele­com Reg­u­la­tory Au­thor­ity of In­dia (Trai) told ET.

“The ul­ti­mate aim is to put the data out for pub­lic con­sump­tion where any­one can use it, en­sur­ing trans­parency for con­sumers,” the of­fi­cial said. “If they don’t file on­line, we will not take it on our records.”

In a let­ter to tel­cos dated July 26, seen by ET, Trai has said that it will mon­i­tor the pi­lot run for a ‘rea­son­able pe­riod’ and would grad­u­ally do away with the re­quire­ment of fil­ing phys­i­cal copies with the reg­u­la­tor.

If suc­cess­ful tar­iff fil­ing con­tin­ues, Trai will ex­empt tel­cos from pub­lish­ing their tar­iffs in lo­cal news­pa­pers, presently a bi-an­nual re­quire­ment. The reg­u­la­tor has also man­dated that tel­cos fix re­spon­si­bil­ity on spe­cific peo-

ple for fil­ing the tar­iffs on­line, which will en­sure sanc­tity and as­sur­ance that the tar­iffs filed have been ap­proved be­fore be­ing put on­line.

In a quar­ter, Trai gets any­where be­tween 10,000 to 20,000 spe­cial tar­iff plans, which are dif­fer­ent from regular plans, all of which need to be filed on­line as well. Be­fore is­su­ing the lat­est or­der, tel­cos were given two months — June and July — for test­ing on­line tar­iff fil­ing and will file on­line in par­al­lel with pa­per sub­mis­sions, as a pi­lot from this month. The of­fi­cial added that smaller car­ri­ers like Air­cel, MTS, Te­lenor and MTNL, have al­ready started to file their tar­iffs on­line, and larger play­ers in­clud­ing Reliance Jio, Air­tel, Voda­fone and Idea should fol­low suit.

Tar­iff fil­ing has been a bone of con­tention among ri­val tel­cos. Reliance Jio, and some con­sumers, had com­plained to the reg­u­la­tor that Bharti Air­tel, Idea Cel­lu­lar and Voda­fone In­dia were ar­bi­trar­ily giv­ing spe­cialised of­fers to re­tain cus­tomers mov­ing out to other car­ri­ers. Such plans, they said, were not avail­able on tel­cos’ web­sites. Trai had then in May barred tel­cos from of­fer­ing plans se­lec­tively to sub­scribers, un­less it was made pub­lic and avail­able to all.

Tar­iff fil­ing has been a bone of con­tention among ri­val tel­cos as some were giv­ing spe­cialised of­fers to re­tain users

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