Guru Gyan
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Guru Gyan

A quick timeline of telcos premium plans case

First the ongoing AGR dispute, and then the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s direction to freeze the premium plans.. it has been quite a rough ride for the two Indian private telecom companies — Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel.

Last week, the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) allowed Vodafone Idea to get new customers for its premium tariff plans, saying the direction issued by TRAI to suspend the premium plans of the telco lacked prima facie reasons. What direction? Here is a quick timeline of

Vodafone Idea had introduced a premium plan called RedX scheme in November 2019, with up to 50% higher data speed, in-built subscription for premium content from Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Vodafone Play. It also claimed to offer 7 days of unlimited calls and data while roaming abroad.

06 July: Priority 4G Network

In July 2020, Airtel said that it has stepped up the experience for its platinum customers by announcing ‘Priority 4G Network’ that promises faster 4G speeds to platinum customers through Network Preference.

08 July: An alleged complaint

Reports suggested that on July 8, Reliance Jio had reportedly filed a complaint against Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel’s offered premium plans. The company reportedly said that its competitors’ new premium plans are discriminatory and misleading.

13 July: Direction to discontinue

On July 13, TRAI directed Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel to withhold and discontinue their said premium plans citing concerns over the quality of service received by regular customers as against premium customers.

13 July: Challenging the order

After TRAI’s order, Vodafone Idea on July 13 moved the Telecommunications Dispute Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) challenging the order, seeking a stay on TRAI’s order.

*Stay on order is a suspension of a particular proceeding that means the parties are not allowed to take actions while the order is in effect.

17 July: A sigh of interim relief

On July 17, the TDSAT granted interim relief to Vodafone Idea to continue with its premium plan while posting the case for August 17. The tribunal said that — ‘The only justification that suspension (of the premium plans) would facilitate a detailed examination by TRAI is found to be devoid of any merits.’

Reliance Jio is now said to have approached and appealed the tribunal to be made a party in the case. The tribunal has asked Jio to file its reply within two weeks i.e., by July 31.

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