Regulators

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TRAI to probe 'opaque' offers to departing customers

MUMBAI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India will study complaints about operators doling out customised retention offers to influence subscribers who plan to shift to a rival network. Jio had alleged that incumbent operators are lining up customised offers for subscribers wanting to shift.

While it may be standard for operators to play up offerings and the strength of their networks to the departing customers, telcos cannot offer plans that they do not file with TRAI.

TRAI chairman R S Sharma asserted that all offerings by operators need to be non-discriminatory, transparent, and filed with the regulator but refused to be drawn into the specifics, PTI reported.

Because the tariff has to satisfy the criteria of being non-discriminatory and transparent, Sharma said, these principles would have to be followed.

In a letter to TRAI, Jio had termed such methods as being "unfair and deceptive", and claimed that the offers were being presented to customers "surreptitiously" on a one-to-one basis and not available to the public.

Those companies were not openly publicising such offers on their website as is stipulated, Jio charged, demanding that "strongest action" against the three operators - Vodafone, Airtel, and Idea Cellular — for what it called a gross violation of TRAI norms. However, Airtel and Vodafone had refuted Jio's allegations.

As per the norms, while tariffs are under forbearance, every plan has to be filed with the TRAI within seven working days from its launch. If the regulator will call operators for a meeting to resolve the issue, Sharma said the matter was still in a "preliminary" stage.

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