Reliance Jio is learnt to have written to the sector regulator Trai complaining that the new tariff structure of Vodafone Idea allegedly restricts entry-level customers to port their mobile number from its network, according to official sources. Vodafone Idea (VIL) in November raised mobile services and data rates by 18-25 per cent.
Under the new tariff structure, VIL increased the entry-level plan with 28 days validity to Rs 99 from Rs 75 but the entry-level plan is not bundled with SMS service. “Jio has complained to Trai that VIL new tariff restricts people opting for low value plans from porting their mobile number as outgoing SMS facility is not available in the entry level plans of VIL,” the source said.
According to the Jio complaint, VIL is providing SMS service in plans priced at Rs 179 and above. Email queries sent to Jio and VIL did not elicit any reply. NGO Telecom Watchdog had also filed a complaint before Trai on the same issue on the day the new tariff of VIL became effective.
“Vodafone Idea has increased the tariff plan across the packages…however, our immediate concern is about their step in which they have moved SMS services to a higher tariff bracket i.e. Rs 179 package, minimum. As you know for porting out SMS service is required. If a consumer wants to port out, he must first pay Rs 179 to get the tariff plan with SMS service,” the NGO said.
It alleged that the move of VIL is to stop the consumers from moving to other telecom networks for better services. “We are highly surprised to note that such kind action by Vodafone Idea has gone unnoticed so far as Trai has not initiated any action to protect the interest of consumers. In fact, the SMS services should be available in the lowest tariff plan,” Telecom Watchdog said.