Trai, which has also sought explanation from the two companies, wants to understand whether the special plans for the high-paying customers come at the cost of those who have opted for prepaid or lower tariffs. “Are they prioritising one set of customers by spoiling the experience of others?” Trai secretary S K Gupta asked. “We have asked the companies to explain the tariff plans. If prima facie there will be a violation, we will ask them to withdraw the plans.”
However, Gupta said there have been no instructions which ask the companies to completely withdraw the plans as of now. While Trai refused to speak on the matter, a section of industry analysts feel there could be a violation of net neutrality tenets by offering differential services based on the tariff plans.
An Airtel spokesperson said, “We are passionate about delivering the best network and service experience to ‘all our customers’. This is why we have a relentless obsession to eliminate faults… we want to keep raising the bar for our postpaid customers in terms of service and responsiveness. This is an ongoing effort at our end.”
A spokesperson for Vodafone Idea said, “Vodafone Idea is committed to serve its customers with the best-inclass offerings and high-speed 4G data across all markets.” However, sources within Vodafone Idea expressed surprise at Trai’s move, saying the regulator has acted nearly eight months after it had launched the plan.