The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued a new order urging telecom operators to stop offering differential tariffs through mobile number portability (MNP) offerings. This is apparently done to “induce competitors’ network turnover” and TRAI says it has received complaints from many telecommunications service providers (TSPs) against each other. Telecommunications companies claim that these MNP offers were apparently introduced by third-party channel partners to entice users to change their mobile network, without the consent and authorization of the TSP itself.
The new TRAI request was published on the website and essentially says that telecommunications operators cannot submit any offers that have not been communicated to the regulator. This order aims to increase transparency, end unfair practices and maintain non-discrimination in tariff orders. It states that only rates reported to TRAI may be offered through channel partners of telecom operators, distributors, retailers, third party applications and others. All fare offers must comply with TRAI regulations and it is TSP’s responsibility to comply with these guidelines.
As mentioned, TRAI said it issued this order after receiving several complaints from different telecom operators about these unethical MNP offers to entice customers to switch networks. Although TSPs deny these claims, in some cases it has been stated by some telcos that their channel partners may have given some specific MNP benefits to customers on their own, without the consent or authorization of the TSP.
To this end, TRAI justifies that channel partners, distributors, retailers and third-party applications are unlicensed entities appointed by telcos for the purpose of providing telecommunications services, and it remains the responsibility of the telecommunications operator to comply with TRAI’s guidelines – in the with regard to the non-discrimination of tariffs – and communicate it well to your partners.
“The offer of a differentiated rate to the subscriber carrying the network of another service provider is not a valid and reasonable classification, since the reason behind this classification is apparently to induce churn from the competitors’ network and which is discriminatory and infringes the provisions of the clause 10 of the TTO, 1999 ”, says TRAI in its request.
Vodafone Idea has lost many subscribers in recent months, with Jio and Airtel making significant subscriber gains.