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telecom | IST

Vodafone Idea moves TDSAT against TRAI's notice on premium plans; Airtel also mulls legal action

Vodafone Idea on Monday moved the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) against the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's (TRAI) notice putting the premium plans on hold. The company, and Airtel, received TRAI notices asking them to stop their premium plans with immediate effect.
"TRAI's notice says that the premium plans will disrupt the service quality of the plans that are at lower tariffs. The claim in itself is incorrect which we have explained to the TRAI. If a customer pays for 2GB, he gets that much data. A customer paying for 5GB will get 5GB without interfering with the plan of the customer that is paying a lower tariff," said a Vodafone Idea executive, who did not wish to be named.
Sources told CNBC-TV18 that Bharti Airtel is also looking at a legal recourse and may file a case soon. "Airtel and Vodafone Idea have written to TRAI on Monday outlining their stance but TRAI is unlikely to reconsider," said another source on the condition of anonymity.
In November, Vodafone Idea had sought approval for its RedX plan priced at Rs 999/ month. The plan had been amended in January which was also given approval by TRAI. Airtel had sought approval in early June for its Platinum plan that came into effect from July 2020. The price for Airtel's Platinum plan started from Rs 499/ month onward.
"The only arsenal we have to drive ARPUs is tariffs. Tariffs are already very competitive and affordable. We need to have the flexibility to increase tariffs in higher bands if we want to maintain service quality. Offering faster data does not violate net neutrality norms as claimed by TRAI," said the Vodafone Idea executive.