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TRAI blocks Airtel, Vodafone Idea premium plans offering priority services to high paying customers

TRAI

The telecom regulator has hindered Bharti Airtel’s Platinum and Vodafone Idea’s RedX premium plans that promises faster data speeds and priority services, justifying such plans could diminish the quality of mobile services for those who haven’t availed the plans.

The verdict pulled a sharp reaction from Vodafone Idea, with a senior official saying the telco was “surprised” at the swiftness with which the authority acted “over the weekend,” without allowing it to answer.

Besides the impact on quality, a Telecom Regulatory Authority of India official revealed the watchdog is assessing whether the offers breach net impartiality rules “as the telcos appear to be reserving a lane on a public data highway that uses public resources for selective use of expensive customers.” But this aspect didn’t figure in the letters sent to the two telcos.

In near-identical letters dated July 11, Trai urged Airtel and Vodafone Idea to “withhold, with instant effect and until further orders” the two plans “to promote a thorough inspection of both schemes” by the regulator.

It also directed them to guard the interests of users who have already registered for the offers.

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