The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) will shortly ask Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea (Vi) to comply with a Supreme Court order requiring the two incumbent telcos to share details of all their segmented offers with the sector regulator.
Last Friday (November 6, 2020), Supreme Court upheld TRAI’s appeal against an almost-two-year-old telecom tribunal order that had junked a regulation requiring telcos to report all tariffs in the interests of transparency and non-discrimination. It, in fact, had ordered Airtel and Vi to disclose details of their segmented offers to the regulator. TRAI filed written petitions before the Delhi High Court, questioning the provisional agreement thus issued by TDSAT. The written applications were denied, urging the tribunal to dispose of the appeals as soon as possible. Finally, TDSAT heard the appeals and partly permitted them by a final order. The Telecom Tariff 63rd Amendment Order was set aside by the TDSAT in so far as it alters the principles of SMP, Non-predation, and the relevant provisions
The appellant (TRAI) has submitted an application to the service providers for interim guidance to reveal the information/details requested by the appellant concerning segmented offers. The respondent argued before the Court that if the applicant-TRAI decided to call for information of the segmented offers on which complaints were received by TRAI, the respondents were prepared and able to provide the same. It is contended by the respondent that the TRAI cannot seek such interim directions, after having failed to secure a stay of the operation of the impugned order. In its review, the Court claimed that the respondents' claim that the prayer for the suspension of the application of the order under appeal was granted only to a limited extent at the time when the appeals were admitted does not take the respondents to any position. In its judgment, the Court held that what TRAI is now seeking to ensure compliance with the regulatory principles of transparency, non-discrimination and non-predation cannot be said to be, at least prima facie, illegal or entirely unjustified. The instruction is therefore given to the respondents to disclose the applicant's requested information/details regarding segment offers.