The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has slashed the TRAI’s controversial rules on predatory pricing, providing a relief to Bharti Airtel Ltd and Vodafone Idea Ltd. which had complained that the rules unfairly benefitted Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd.
The whole issue rose when TRAI changed the definition of SMP to identify predatory pricing, and gave pricing freedom and flexibility only to operators with less than 30% of the subscribers or revenue and dropped previous parameters such as the volume of traffic including data and switching capacity.
TDSAT in its ruling called TRAI’s new rules arbitrarily and without deliberation or effective consultation. The tribunal also rejected Trai’s new definition of “significant market player” (SMP), besides sparing telecom firms from disclosing on their websites segmented offers or tariff discounts aimed at retaining customers.
TDSAT in its order, also said: “Authority (Trai) is required to take a fresh decision on relevant issues in case of segmented offers and whether prevailing facts and health of sector would require major changes in the meaning of tariff plans.”
The tribunal also criticized Trai order by saying, “By this definition, Trai has encouraged and permitted non-SMPs to indulge in predation by creating a presumption that only SMPs can be capable of predation.”