To cap or not to cap; Trai in contemplation

MUMBAI: Should there be a cap on the permitted number of plans operators offer? What should be the service segments for application of the proposed cap? Is a minimum validity period specified for tariff plans? Should promotional plan offers be made as a standard discount offer? All of these ambiguous issues and more was the agenda at an open house session with Trai representatives at the Ambassador Hotel in Mumbai today.

Trai chairman Pradip Baijal along with other representatives delved into long pending issues and also gave an insight into the proposed plan of action regarding the issue of limiting the number of tariff plans offered by access providers.

The need for limiting the number of plans seems to be the need of the hour as Baijal says, "Companies are creating a significant amount of confusion when advertising their tariffs. There are far too many plans to allow the user to make an informed judgement on the right choice."

Considering the widespread concern in regards to the increasing number of tariff plans, which not only baffle the consumer but also makes it next to impossible for them to render an informed choice. Trai opines that it is most vital to place a cap on the number of plans being offered by service

providers as it is seen as the only way of achieving it.

Hence this brings us to a number of issues:

1. The permitted number of plans should continue that a competitive market warrants, also enabling the consumer in choosing the best option. Since operators have anyway made inroads into the market with such momentum, a cap of five numbers is unlikely to curb competition.

2. Services permitted under licensees are being executed in different modes with mobile services made available in both prepaid as well as the postpaid mode. Hence, for the purpose of tariff plan capping, these services have to be treated as separate segments. Likewise services like ISDN, centrex et al would also fall under a different segment or could be left out of the capping as there are only limited plans offered for these services. Although, emerging services like DSL should be treated as a completely different segment and should be made subject to capping.

3. Constant withdrawal of tariff plans could pose problems for consumers as it would lead to changes in estimated spending. Ensuring a minimum validity period for tariff plans would only take away the uncertainty factor. However, this could also prove to be a pitfall for consumers taking into consideration the continuous falling of telecom tariffs on account of fierce competition. Another view could be that the specification of minimum validity period could curtail the flexibility to the operators in passing benefits of competitive decline in tariffs to the customers.

4. Should business or corporate plans be treated as a separate segment considering the requirements of business customers would be different from general or individual customers. The issue essentially is whether both general and business tariff plans are to be treated as a single segment of

the capping or should an inclusion of another five plans be incorporated for corporate accounts.

5. The current scenario has service providers using different permutations and combinations to generate different value added tariff plans. The point here is if this continues, the purpose of putting a cap will be defeated, hence it is crucial that every tariff plan would clearly identify tariffs for each element including VAS.

6. Should there be standardisation of discounts for promotions plans or will they simply add to the confusion in the market. Multiple sectors and vertically integrated operators could also use this in an unfair, anti-competitive manner. Although, on the other hand promotional offers

are beneficial to the consumer.

Considering the above factors and the pros and cons in limiting the number of tariff plans, Trai on a progressive note is in the process of making a software, which will ensure the consumer knows exactly how much he has to pay for 'X' amount of usage, which will maximise the consumers utilisation and increase value for tariff.

Latest Reads
TRAI clears path for broadband, voice services aboard planes

Broadband connectivity and making voice calls from 32,000 feet above sea level while flying may soon become a reality over Indian space if broadcast and telecom regulator TRAI’s recommendations are accepted by some other government organisations, including ISRO.

Regulators TRAI
TRAI extends dates for comments on uplinking/downlinking consultation paper

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has extended the deadline for receiving comments on the consultation paper relating to uplinking and downlinking of TV channels. The new dates for receiving comments and counter-comments are 31 January and 10 February respectively.

Regulators TRAI
TRAI invites ICT-based solution providers to upgrade tech

NEW DELHI: With the demand for a wide range of services based on ICT platform involving machine-to-machine and internet of things, etc. increasing, Indian broadcast and telecom regulator TRAI is looking at expanding its technical capabilities and, in this regard, has invited proposals from...

Regulators TRAI
MIB mandates broadcasters to make applications via Broadcast Seva

MUMBAI: In its latest move to ensure ease of conducting business, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has mandated TV broadcasters to make online applications for a range of submissions.

Regulators I&B Ministry
TRAI releases paper on National Telecom Policy 2018

Seeking views from stakeholders on the new telecom policy, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) today released a consultation paper on inputs for formulation of the National Telecom Policy 2018.

Regulators TRAI
TRAI tightens the screws on interconnectivity for telcos

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued a mandate to service providers directing them to enter into an interconnection agreement on a “non-discriminatory basis” within 30 days of receiving a connectivity request from another mobile operator.

Regulators TRAI
Cross-media holding: Indian policymakers push for regulations

A section of policymakers in India is not in favour of market forces taking care of monopolistic trends in the increasingly converging print and electronic media. It has recommended government intervention—a thought-process that can have wide-ranging implications on activities of broadcasting...

Regulators I&B Ministry
Parliamentary panel pushes for TRAI's empowerment

MUMBAI: Parliament’s Standing Committee on Information Technology and Communications (SCIT) wants more regulations for the broadcast industry. Finding the current powers given to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) inadequate, it has recommended that either the scope of its authority...

Regulators TRAI
Parliamentary panel raps MIB on knuckles for DAS implementation

MUMBAI: The Parliament’s Standing Committee on Information Technology and Communications (SCIT) has sent out a stern message to the stakeholders of India’s broadcast and cable industry, including the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB): get your acts together.

Regulators I&B Ministry

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories