In an important direction, the Supreme Court on Friday ordered telecommunications companies to disclose to the regulator TRAI the details of special prices and offers to consumers. Chief Judges SA Bobde and Jusitces AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian judges allowed the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to apply for provisional applications. They expressed their hope that telecommunications companies would comply with regulatory principles such as “transparency” and “non-discrimination” that are not “illegal or unreasonable.” “In view of… the historical background, TRAI now seeks to ensure compliance with the principles of transparency, non-discrimination, and non-predatory regulation. The content is, to say the least, ostensibly illegal or completely illegal. Unreasonable.
The order said: “Therefore, the enforcement agency is permitted and the defendant (Bharti Airtel Ltd and other companies) is given instructions to disclose the information/details regarding the segment quotation sought by the applicant/appellant (TRAI),” the order said . The Supreme Court said that TRAI’s responsibility and responsibility is to ensure that “this information is kept confidential and will not be provided to competitors or anyone else”.
TRAI compels telecom operators to disclose information about all such plans. However, Airtel and Vodafone opposed the decision and asked the Telecom Dispute Resolution and Appeal Tribunal (TDSAT) to forgive, because these proposals are not fee-based plans and therefore do not need to be disclosed. Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd and state-owned mobile operators have already complied with TRAI orders.
TDSAT violated a regulatory agency order that stated that TRAI has no right to require mobile service operators to provide such general information. The Supreme Court pointed out in its order that there is no “serious dispute” over the jurisdiction and power of TRAI in issuing the Telecommunications Tariff Order of February 16, 2018.
“Although in an appeal to TRAI, it seems that TRAI’s jurisdiction was questioned, TDSAT did not clearly prove that TRAI has no jurisdiction and power to request the details of segment quotations.”
“TDSAT found that… the entire content of the disturbed order is that the segmented quotations and discounts provided to existing customers in the normal business process do not discriminate in the target market segment, and do not constitute a rate plan, so there is no need to proceed Report”, the Supreme Court said. Segmented offers are promotions and discounts that are shown to customers and transferred to other telecommunications companies.
In order to retain consumers, these companies usually provide better data speeds, preferential customer identities, and the ability to access Over-the-top (OTT) streaming platforms. Earlier, the Delhi High Court refused to interfere with the provisional order of the Telecommunications Court TDSAT and shelved the regulatory agency TRAI’s rules, which required reporting of customized discounts and offers offered to specific users by old service providers Airtel, Idea and Vodafone. It refused to keep the decision and said it would ask the court to expedite the hearing of Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular’s requests against TRAI’s rules.
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