Telecom watchdog accuses Voda Idea, Airtel of anti-consumer practices

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Non-profit group Telecom Watchdog on Thursday questioned new minimal month-to-month recharge plans of Airtel and Vodafone Idea and charged the operators of indulging in “anti-consumer activities”, however the Companies asserted that the plans are absolutely compliant with guidelines.

In a letter to Trai, Telecom Watchdog flagged considerations over the way by which the 2 firms had allegedly fastened comparable tariffs on the identical time.

It claimed that forcing customers to cough-up a minimal month-to-month quantity was like demanding a month-to-month hire “which is not the practice for pre-paid users”.

“We wish to bring to your kind notice an alarming situation under which two Telecom operators – Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea – have once again resorted to anti-consumer activities. In total disregard to the regulatory principles, they have now unilaterally decided to terminate the services of subscribers within 15 days of the expiry of validity period of the `special tariff plan’,” Telecom Watchdog mentioned in a letter to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

“All tariff plans of Bharti Airtel are in compliance with the applicable regulations. The matter raised by the TRAI, relating to the communication of the tariff plans to the consumers, has already been addressed,” an Airtel spokesperson mentioned in an electronic mail response.

The spokesperson added the corporate didn’t want to reply to “frivolous allegations”.

A Vodafone Idea spokesperson, too, categorically denied what it termed have been levelling of “baseless allegations”.

“Catering to the changing needs of consumers, Vodafone Idea has radically simplified its prepaid plans to enhance customer convenience. These plans are fully compliant to all applicable regulations and guidelines. We have rolled them out nationally and are actively communicating with customers, informing them of changes and helping them avail these new plans,” the Vodafone Idea spokesperson mentioned.

Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea have been trying to enhance their income realisation per consumer and not too long ago introduced minimal month-to-month recharge plans ranging from Rs 35.

(With inputs from businesses.)

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