The Supreme Court has directed Airtel, Vodafone to disclose information/details sought by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India regarding segmented offers.
But it is the duty and responsibility of TRAI to ensure that such information is kept confidential and is not made available to the competitors or to any other person, the bench comprising the Chief Justice SA Bobde, AS Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian said while allowing an application filed by TRAI in a pending appeal against an order passed by Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal.
The TRAI contended that Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) are under a statutory obligation to offer tariffs in a transparent and nondiscriminatory manner and to report all tariffs to the authority. The TSPs contended that TRAI wanted to call for details of segmented offers about which TRAI received complaints, they are ready and willing to furnish the same. But since they have not received any complaint, it can not seek such details from them.
The court noted that, the TDSAT, in the impugned order, had held that the segmented offers and discounts offered in the ordinary course of business to existing customers without any discrimination within the target segment, do not amount to a tariff plan and that therefore there is no need for reporting. It had also ordered the remand of the matter back to TRAI, for settling the issue of segmented offers through open consultation process.
"In the light of the above historical background, what is now sought by TRAI to ensure adherence to the regulatory principles of transparency, nondiscrimination and non-predation, cannot be said, at least prima facie to be either illegal or wholly unjustified.", the bench said while allowing the application
Segmented offers are promotional offers or discounts which are made to customers who are inclined to switch to other telcos.
Case: TRAI vs. Bharti Airtel [ I.A.NO.46116 OF 2020 in CA NOs. 250252 OF 2019]
Coram: Chief Justice SA Bobde, AS Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian
Counsel: SG Tushar Mehta, Sr. Adv Aspi Chinoy