NEW DELHI: Facing an enquiry by regulator TRAI into its 4G priority network plan, telecom services provider Vi has withdrawn the contentious faster speed offering from its package. The company’s website no longer promises faster network speeds under its premium RedX plan.
Vi did not offer any comments on the development. RedX has been at the centre of a tug of war between the regulator and telcos since June, when TRAI sent notices to Vi (then Vodafone Idea) and Bharti Airtel to halt plans that promised higher speeds to 4G mobile customers.
While targeted higher speeds are intrinsic to the fixed line broadband market, the technology which delivers 4G data services to mobile users is very different. Since mobile speeds are a factor of the number of mobile towers in an area (BTS stations) and the number of users using them, offering higher speeds to select customers is far trickier.
Vi moved apex telecom disputes tribunal TDSAT and secured a stay on TRAI’s direction in a matter of days, but the court did not halt the probe. TRAI’s concerns, addressed in a series of questionnaires sent to the companies, were centred around faster speed claims—though the plans offered much more, from OTT platform subscriptions to travel privileges.
Airtel voluntarily halted its plan during the course of its probe. Vi sent in its responses, but sources say the regulator was left unsatisfied. TRAI was not convinced that higher speeds for RedX users would not come at the cost of other customers. The regulator had also repeatedly stated that Vi should inform its users that faster speeds cannot be guaranteed, stating in its show cause notice that Vi’s claims were “misleading”.
With Vi now removing the faster speeds claims, the regulator is unlikely to find much to object. Under current rules, a telecom service provider has seven days from launch to file a revised plan with TRAI, but sources could not confirm whether such a revision has already been filed. The removal of faster speeds from the plan is a loss in value, say sector analysts, and could result in some users exiting the plan.
Airtel halted high-speed plan much earlier
RedX has been at the centre of a tug of war between the regulator and telcos since June, when TRAI sent notices to Vi (then Vodafone Idea) and Bharti Airtel to halt plans that promised higher speeds to 4G mobile customers. Airtel voluntarily halted its plan during the course of its probe.