Trai noted that channel partners and distributors are "non licensed entities" appointed by telecom operators for the purpose of offering services.
Regulator Trai on Thursday directed all telecom service providers to ensure that only tariffs that are reported to it are offered through their channels, distributors or retailers, as it sought to crackdown on discounts allegedly being doled out by some channel partners to lure customers from other networks.
With this, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has affixed the responsibility of ensuring compliance of regulatory provisions and guidelines squarely with the operators, for such cases.
In its direction, Trai directed all telecom service providers (TSPs) to ensure “with immediate effect” that only the tariffs reported to the regulator are offered through their channel partners, distributors, retailers or third-party apps.
It also said asserted that the responsibility and accountability of ensuring compliance of Trai guidelines and provision will remain with the telecom service providers, where the operators’ name or brand is used for marketing or selling products.
The direction came after Trai received complaints by telecom service providers against each other, where allegations were levelled about mobile number portability (MNP)-specific tariff offering being made by rival firms.
While the allegations of such “discriminatory MNP specific tariff offers” were denied by each of the operator. In some cases, it was stated by a few telcos that their channel partners may have given some MNP specific benefits to the customers on their own without consent or authorisation from the players themselves.
Trai noted that channel partners and distributors are “non licensed entities” appointed by telecom operators for the purpose of offering services. It also made it clear that “it remains the responsibility of TSPs to adhere to the various regulatory provisions/guidelines in respect of tariff offerings issued from time to time”.