Telecom giant Reliance Jio has written to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) noting that Vodafone Idea or Vi's new prepaid plans do not allow users to port easily. Jio reportedly told the regulator that Vodafone Idea's new tariff structure restricts entry-level customers to port their mobile number from its network. Late last month, Vodafone Idea increased its prepaid tariffs up to 25 per cent. VIL increased the entry-level plan with 28 days validity to Rs 99 from Rs 75. However, the entry-level plan is not bundled with SMS service. Users have to opt for plans priced around Rs 180 to get access to SMS services which makes it difficult for them to port.
"Jio has complained to TRAI that VIL's 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," PTI quoted a source as saying. Jio's complaint highlights that Vodafone idea Limited is providing SMS service in plans priced at Rs 179 and above.
NGO Telecom Watchdog 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.
The NGO noted 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.
Telecom operators Airtel, Jio and Vodafone Idea have increased their tariffs in the last couple of weeks citing better Average Revenue Per User (ARPU). However, the telcos have greatly reduced benefits for some users with this tariff hike. For example, Airtel and Jio now offer Disney+ Hotstar benefits with only one plan. Vodafone Idea reduced its double data benefit that gave 4GB daily data with plans. Airtel has also discontinued its Rs 558 plan that gave 3GB daily data with 56 days validity.
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