Telecom regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has given Vodafone Idea Ltd time till September 8 to reply to its show-cause notice on its priority plan, REDX. The telco had sought more time to respond to the notice after TRAI observed the tariff plan "lacked transparency" and was "misleading".
Vodafone Idea had launched a post-paid plan, REDX, in November 2019, promising up to 50 per cent faster data speeds, besides other VIP benefits and privileges.
Earlier, TRAI gave Voda Idea time till August 31 but the telco sought at least 15 more days to respond to the 17-page show-cause notice, following which the regulator granted it time till September 8, PTI reported citing sources. The show-cause notice, issued on July 11, had asked Vodafone Idea to "withhold, with immediate effect and until further orders" its REDX plan.
Raising questions over the plan that promised faster speeds to certain users, TRAI asked if priority services under the plan came at the cost of service deterioration for other subscribers. It also asked the operators how they were protecting the interest of other general subscribers.
"...why appropriate action should not be initiated against it for violating the extant regulatory framework by its REDX tariff plan..." the TRAI order said.
Vodafone Idea had also moved the Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) in July as it was reportedly not happy with the Trai order, which it said was passed in a hasty manner without giving the company a chance to respond.
As per Vodafone Idea officials, the REDX plan was filed with TRAI in November 2019 and further modifications to the plan were, once again, duly filed in May. The plan has been in the market for over nine months.
The pay-more-for-priority treatment mobile plan was offering bundled international roaming services, unlimited data with superior data speeds (compared to its regular plans), premium customer service, access to airport lounges, exclusive deals on handsets, hotel bookings and other benefits. The company also said its customers would be able to avail international calls to the US and Canada at 50 paise per minute.
Besides, TRAI had also raised objections over a similar plan by Airtel, called Platinum. The company was asked if its platinum plan led to deterioration of services to other general customers. The telco later modified it voluntarily, following which TRAI didn't issue the show-cause notice against Airtel.
Edited by Manoj Sharma with PTI inputs