Cell operators move Trai accusing Reliance Info of predatory tariffs

New Delhi, March 30 | Updated: Mar 31 2005, 05:30am hrs
The cellular operators have sought Telecom Regulatory Authority of Indias (Trai) intervention for restraining Reliance Infocomm from offering predatory tariffs in its new unlimited talktime plans, claiming this amounted to non-compliance of the regulators order.

Plan 700 of Reliance Infocomm offers unlimited talktime on Reliance phones across India and Plan 435 offers unlimited talktime on Reliance phones across Chennai-Tamil Nadu, Kolkata-West Bengal and Mumbai & Maharashtra circles, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said in a letter to Trai.

Reliances tariff plans, offering unlimited talktime to its own customers across different service areas, are in violation of the Authoritys tariff order as notified in its 33rd Amendment. These tariffs are predatory as the same tariff and rates are not transparently available to the other access providers who are its competitors, it said.

We believe that by offering such tariffs, Reliance is squeezing the margins of its competitors as it has lowered its retail tariffs of competitive services in the downstream market while not extending this facility to its competitors for wholesale prices (carriage charges) in the upstream market, the letter said.

The association sought intervention of the Authority to direct the immediate withdrawal of the above tariff plans.

The 33rd amendment to Telecommunication Tariff Order (TTO) dated December 8, 2004 clearly stated that any differential tariff assuming the nature of vertical price squeeze will not be permitted and service providers shall conduct a self-check of existing tariff in view of the above guidelines.