Incumbent telcos sparred with Reliance Jio over the matter of transparency of tariff plans, with Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular saying that some offers, especially counter offers to retain users, need to be kept confidential to protect the competitive advantage while the newcomer batted for all plans to be made public on a common platform.
Segregation between new and existing users while offering tariff plans should be allowed, the telcos told the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in an open house discussion on tariff assessment Tuesday, adding that retention offers – effectively discounts – were not arbitrary and instead based on a number of parameters including average revenue per user and customer loyalty.
The regulator plans to issue guidelines or an order in 30 days on issues such as disclosures on tariffs, promotional offers, discount and duration, non-discrimination in service offers and predatory pricing.
“When a customer wants to leave — going out of a continued relationship between customer and operator — this is the fundamental right of the operator to retain that customer, and it is not only specific to telecom industry… it is there for any industry where you can match the offer (from a rival),” said Ravi Gandhi, regulatory head of Bharti Airtel. Anshuman Thakur, head of strategy and planning at Reliance Jio disagreed.
“Current measures for transparency are not adequate because the specification of transparency in the industry is not consistent, therefore we again urge that all plans that are being offered by telcos are published in a common platform and people can see the plans, and nothing beyond those plans is offered to anyone else,” Thakur said.
“The customer should be able to choose what’s best for him, because they’re the ones paying. Only the authority can offer this,” he added. The comments come within days of the TRAI barring carriers from offering different plans to subscribers in the same category, effectively limiting them from offering specific plans to specific subscribers.
TRAI had also asked telcos to transparently disclose to the regulator all plans being offered to all customers. “If they were to put transparently on their website that any customer coming to me saying that if you ask me that I’m moving out, I will drop the rate, then every customer will come… that is why retention plans cannot be put on the website, as this will become the rule and the moment you change the rule, you’re changing the tariff plan itself,” Airtel’s Gandhi said.
For more news updates Follow and Like us on Facebook