The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Friday said that operators have reached a consensus on continuing with the current forbearance regime of fixing mobile tariffs and decided not to pursue their earlier demand of having a minimum floor price for voice and data. Speaking to reporters after a meeting with the operators, Trai chairman RS Sharma said, “There were detailed discussions for about two hours and the consensus at the end of the meeting was that for the time being, as of now, we do not see the need to pursue the idea of fixing a floor price”.This comes a month after the incumbent operators – Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular – in their deliberations with the regulator had stressed on the need for fixing a minimum price for voice and data tariffs so that free offers do not hurt the industry in the long run. The new entrant, Reliance Jio, had countered this demand saying that the market should be allowed to fix the prices for voice and data.
Sharma said that the industry reached a consensus that fixing of floor price for voice and data services is not a “workable idea” at the moment. He added that no further discussion or meeting on the issue will be organised.“At the end of the meeting, we all decided collectively that as of now we do not need to forgo the principle of forbearance, which has been accepted and has been working effectively for the last 14 years,” he added.Under the forbearance regime, telcos have the freedom to fix tariff for the services, on the ground that it does not go against Trai’s regulatory
Sharma said that the Authority is working on the scope of 5G network in the country and a consultation paper on introduction of 5G is “almost ready” and will be out soon.