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Jio backs telecom regulator for lack of transparency

In a newest twist of event in the telecom sector, the newest 4G entrant Reliance Jio Infocomm’s fight with incumbent carriers has spilled over from the market with the company back the telecom regulator regarding lack of transparency in tariff offers and accusing rivals of making surreptitious personalised offers to select consumers in violation of extant rules. Jio had alleged that some telcos are offering special tariff plans to select customers “under the garb of usage and retention,“ adding that some of these offers were being communicated to consumers through 10-digit mobile numbers, in complete violation of the present regulatory framework. Jio has, in fact, urged the sector regulator to “take strict action against such operators“ saying these “personalized offers“ to some customers were not being “published publicly“. Market leader Bharti Airtel, however, has strongly asserted that existing regulations prescribed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) are adequate to ensure transparency and enable customers to take informed decisions on services and protect their interests, a view also endorsed by third-largest carrier, Idea Cellular. All telcos, Bharti Airtel said, are “striving to attract customers through innovative offers,“ and customers are perfectly free to switch from one operator to another using mobile number portability (MNP). However, Jio has stressed that certain telecom service providers were offering special tariff plans to select customers, adding that such “clandestine activities,“ lead to “more confusion in the subscriber’s mind,“ which is why, “all service providers should be mandated to transparently communicate all such offers to subscribers and Trai.“ The telcos were responding to Trai’s discussion paper to address loopholes in rules around knotty issues such as predatory pricing and promotional offers, which has already culminated in a fierce battle between Jio and the three telecom biggies.

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