Why TRAI has an issue with priority plans given by Vodafone Idea, Airtel

Team Udayavani, Jul 19, 2020, 11:05 AM IST

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has blocked Bharti Airtel’s Platinum and Vodafone Idea’s RedX premium plans that offer faster data speeds and priority services to customers

However, on Friday, the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) stayed the TRAI’s July 11 order to the telecom service providers asking them to stop offering premium and ‘priority on network’ services.

TRAI claims that the plans were violating net neutrality norms. It is said that these services were misleading and that they have not informed the non-priority consumers that you will get slower speed or we are giving better service to people we are charging more.

Vodafone Idea is offering the RedX plan for Rs 1,099 a month under which, among other benefits, it has claimed that these postpaid subscribers will get 50% faster data speeds. Similarly, Airtel has launched a Platinum category of customers comprising anyone subscribing to a postpaid mobile plan of over Rs 499 a month, under which faster 4G speeds are being offered

TRAI has claimed that it was not possible to give preference to certain customers without deteriorating the network quality for the remaining customers, and has asked the telecom companies to explain the same.

Often such things happening in landline where one customer may get more benefits than other. But, one cannot compare it to the wireless as in landline each person has a separate pipe to their home and one person’s additional benefit will  not hurt the other person’s normal benefits.

However, It does not happen in wireless because in a wireless situation the total throughput of a tower is fixed. The number of customers are variable and then they get it on the basis of sharing. There is no guarantee of any bandwidth because you do not know how many people will be there in a particular point of time in a particular area, how much distance there will be.

TRAI said that they have not asked Vodafone-Idea to stop the service of the persons or the customers who are already on the plan and are not causing any harm to the existing customers.Also, that it has the responsibility of protecting the interest of the customers.

However, In a statement, Bharti Airtel’s chief marketing officer Shashwat Sharma said: “It has been our endeavour to offer a differentiated service experience to our Platinum mobile customers as part of the Airtel Thanks program. And that’s where we will deliver that ‘extra’ service experience to them, including faster speeds by giving them preference on our 4G network, while continuing to serve each of our 280 million customers with the same passion

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