Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Saturday, Jan 26, 2002
Regulatory Bodies & Rulings
Corporate - Regulatory Bodies & Rulings
Info-Tech - Telecommunications
Report to us first on tariff plans, says TRAI
NEW DELHI, Jan. 25
IT was destined to happen one day.
With competition in the cellular and basic services hotting up, the operators have been vying with each other to publicise the massive cuts in tariffs that they have been incorporating.
However, in their hurry to get noticed, they have been ignoring a crucial piece of regulation - the Telecommunication Tariff Order, 1999 (TTO) - which stipulates that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has to be informed first.
Realising that it's time to get across this point to the service providers, especially after the kind of media hype that went into the recent slashing of STD tariffs, first by Bharti Telesonic Ltd and then later by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), the authority has ruled that it will no longer be tolerated.
"The service providers are announcing and publicising their tariff proposals prior to the reporting of the same to the Authority as per clause 7 of TTO, 1999. This practice is not in spirit of the reporting requirement envisaged in TTO, 99," it has stated.
In order to achieve strict compliance of the reporting requirements, TRAI has therefore brought about an amendment to clause 7 of Section II of the TTO, 1999.
As per the TTO, service providers are required to file their tariff plans or amendments in the existing tariff structure for approval of the authority before five working days from the proposed date of implementation. It further takes into account the point that the authority may take more than five working days for approval.
"In some cases, TRAI has noted that service providers are not reporting their tariff proposals before clear five working days from the date of implementation of their tariff plan. The authority feels that a definition of the date of reporting will help the service providers to understand the time period of reporting," the amendment notification notes.
As per the amendment, "No new tariff plan for any change in the existing tariff for any telecommunication service or part thereof which requires approval of the authority prior to its implementation, shall be announced through any media prior to the approval of that tariff plan or any change in the existing tariff by the authority.
"If the service provider does not hear from the Authority within five working days from the date of reporting, the service provider shall, before implementation or making public announcement through any media, wait for another five working days, unless in the meantime, the Authority intervenes," it states.
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