A new tariff regime proposed by the telecom regulator has created a flutter, raising hopes of a cut in your monthly mobile phone bill. But don’t smile yet. Experts are not sure if the new rules, which involve measuring calls by the second as a pulse rate, will necessarily slim down your expenses.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI)’s chairman, J.S. Sarma, told reporters in Geneva on Monday that TRAI may ask all operators to make a per-second pulse mandatory, but added that it would be in addition to other existing plans.
“This will be a pro-consumer step. It will help in bringing transparency in tariff schemes. Tariff schemes have too many details that a consumer can not understand,” said Mahesh Uppal, director if Com First (India), a telecom consultancy firm. “However, this may not help in bringing down tariffs.”
A lot will depend on how the new regime is implemented by service providers.
But stock markets interpreted the TRAI proposal as a negative for the companies because it might choke profits as consumers gain.
Bharti Airtel plunged to its lowest in a year to Rs 349.65, down 12 per cent. Reliance Communications closed down 10.6 per cent at Rs. 268.25 after dipping by 12 per cent mid-session.
Tata DoCoMO introduced a per-second pulse in July, becoming the first firm to do so.
“This proposition is good for customers and releases the latent need for calling, which was stifled due to high and complicated tariff options,” Deepak Gulati, president, Tata DoCoMo told Hindustan Times. “The phenomenal response that we have already received over the last three months since our launch validates this overwhelmingly.”
“Tariffs are under forbearance. So it should be left to the operators,” Bharti chairman Sunil Mittal told reporters in Geneva. Forbearance is the practice of the regulator staying away from fixing tariffs in the interest of industry competition.