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Trai fixes fine for predatory pricing

Telecom regulator Trai on Friday said it would impose a financial disincentive of up to Rs 50 lakh per circle on operators if their service rates are found to be predatory in nature.

By Our Special Correspondent
  • Published 17.02.18
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New Delhi: Telecom regulator Trai on Friday said it would impose a financial disincentive of up to Rs 50 lakh per circle on operators if their service rates are found to be predatory in nature.

"In the case of tariff being found predatory, the service provider shall, without prejudice to the terms and conditions of its licence...or directions issued, there under, be liable to pay by way of financial disincentive an amount not exceeding Rs 50 lakh per tariff plan for each service area as the authority may by order direct," the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) said.

The move follows allegations of predatory pricing against Reliance Jio by established players such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular.

A tariff will be considered predatory if in a "relevant market", an operator with over 30 per cent market share offers services at a price which is below the average "variable cost", with a view to reducing competition or eliminating the competitors in the "relevant market", according to an amendment made by Trai in the telecommunication tariff order.

There are 22 telecom circles in the country. Leading operators Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Reliance Jio have operations in all the circles. State-run telecom BSNL operates in 20 circles and MTNL in two. Aircel operates in select circles.

The regulator also said that operators will have to provide services to all subscribers getting the same tariff plan in a non-discriminatory manner.

Reliance Jio Infocomm had filed a complaint with Trai against Bharti Airtel in April, saying the telecom major violated tariff rules by issuing misleading offers and arbitrarily discriminating among its own customers subscribing to the same plan.

5G road map

The department of telecom is likely to finalise a road map for 5G services by June this year, a senior official has said.

"By June this year, I hope we will be able to unveil India's 5G road map," telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan said at an Assocham event on Friday.

The telecom ministry has set up a high-level committee to work on the 5G road map so that India gets access to the next-generation technology when it is available for commercial rollout globally.

"In 5G, we are looking to do a lot of pilots. So, when 5G hits, India will be at the leading edge of technology as well as used cases," Sundararajan added.