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TRAI not to intervene in tariff war: Baijal

June 24, 2003 16:31 IST

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on Tuesday said that it would not intervene in the ongoing telecom tariff war across different services, saying this increases the competition in the sector.

"TRAI will not intervene in the tariff war... this intensifies competition... and intense competition will make services affordable," TRAI chairman Pradeep Baijal said at a open house discussion on issues related to the Interconnection User Charge, in New Delhi.

Baijal was responding to a concern raised by a consumer organisation over the existing numerous tariff plans being offered by the service providers, thereby creating confusion among the consumers.

He, however, declined to entertain individual complaints from the consumers and said, "As per the TRAI Act we will look into those issues which are general in nature."

TRAI also discussed the issue of reviewing IUC and said by the end of July the authority would give its final recommendations.

TRAI member Dr D P S Seth indicated that telecom tariffs were likely to come down with the implementation of the revised IUC regime on which TRAI was presently working.

Asked whether TRAI was considering fixing either floor price or upper ceiling for services like cellular mobile and WLL based limited mobile services, Seth said, "We have got different views and TRAI will look into all these before taking any decision."

Consumer organisations asked TRAI to make the cost data, submitted by various service providers, public to ensure transparency in the decision making process of the regulator.

On the levy of access deficit charge, Seth said the authority was looking at equitable distribution of this deficit with lower quantum and this would bring the tariffs lower significantly.

On the calling party pays regime, which has already been introduced by TRAI, evoked mixed response from the basic and cellular operators.

Association of Basic Telecom Operators opposed TRAI's action on implementing CPP regime, saying it was implemented through the back door, as there was no consultation process involved in it.

ABTO also cited examples of various countries including China, US and Korea, where CPP was never implemented.

On the other hand, the Cellular Operators Association of India supported TRAI on introducing CPP, saying this was necessary for the growth of the sector.

COAI also said all tariff plans must cover the IUC charge in totality, which includes the origination, carrier and termination charges.

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