Reliance Jio to Trai: Vodafone Idea’s, Airtel’s new tariff plans to create porting barrier

As per Jio, either porting SMSes are made free and everyone can send it, despite the benefits of the plan, or the mechanism for porting should be changed, wherein the requirement of SMS is not there. Thirdly, SMSes should be made mandatory in all the plans.

Vodafone Idea also has Rs 99 plan with 28 days validity, a Rs 79 plan with 21 days validity and Rs 49 plan with 10 days validity but none offer outgoing SMS facility.
Vodafone Idea also has Rs 99 plan with 28 days validity, a Rs 79 plan with 21 days validity and Rs 49 plan with 10 days validity but none offer outgoing SMS facility.

Reliance Jio has once again complained to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) against Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel for creating barriers for subscribers who want to port out, by not offering SMS facility in lower-denomination pre-paid plans. Both Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea had raised tariffs last week by 20% to 25%.

After the hikes, the minimum plan which offers outgoing SMS facility comes for Rs 179 for Vodafone Idea whereas Bharti Airtel’s lowest denomination plan with outgoing SMS facility comes for Rs 128. Although there are pre-paid plans below the denomination, they don’t offer outgoing SMS facility. For instance, Vodafone Idea has Rs 149 plan with 21 days validity but no outgoing SMS and also a Rs 129 plan with 18-days validity, sans outgoing SMS. Vodafone Idea also has Rs 99 plan with 28 days validity, a Rs 79 plan with 21 days validity and Rs 49 plan with 10 days validity but none offer outgoing SMS facility.

Similarly, Bharti Airtel has Rs 99 and Rs 49 plans with 28 days’ validity but no outgoing SMS facility. As per Jio, these type of tariff plans are anti-consumer as they force a subscriber to pay a higher price in case they want to port out. Jio had earlier written a letter to Trai in July, when both Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea had undertaken tariff hikes for some entry level plans. At that time, the minimum plan with outgoing SMS facility used to come at Rs 149. As per sources, after Jio’s complaint in July, Trai had undertaken few joint meetings of the companies on the matter. “During the meeting, Bharti Airtel had conveyed that whatever decision would be taken by the regulator, it will abide by that. But Vodafone Idea opposed the move saying tariffs are its prerogative,” sources said. The sources further said Trai is expected to take a decision in the coming few days regarding the matter.

Jio has suggested three options to Trai regarding the porting out messages. As per Jio, either porting SMSes are made free and everyone can send it, despite the benefits of the plan, or the mechanism for porting should be changed, wherein the requirement of SMS is not there. Thirdly, SMSes should be made mandatory in all the plans.

On its part, Jio is offering outgoing SMS facility on all the plans. For instance, the lowest denomination Jio Phone plans comes for Rs 75 with 23 days validity and it offers 50 SMS.

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