Telecom regulator Trai on Friday clarified the issue related to tariff plan verification, saying there is no special drive being undertaken by it to probe all the past tariff plans filed by telecom companies "except those specific plans under examination".
On receipt of "specific complaints" of alleged predation by a few TSPs, the matter is under examination and "appropriate action as per regulatory provisions will be taken", the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) said in a clarificatory note.
Trai said any tariff may be subjected to fresh examination as per the statutory mandate of the authority on receipt of a complaint of non-compliance to regulatory principles, including the allegation of predatory nature of tariff by any stakeholder, including telcos.
"There is no special drive being undertaken by Trai to probe all the past tariff plans filed by telecom companies except those specific plans under examination...on receipt of specific complaints of alleged predation by few TSPs, the matter is under examination and appropriate action as per regulatory provisions will be taken," the regulator said.
According to Trai, the examination of tariff offers filed by telecom companies is being done by it in a routine manner to ensure compliance of same with stipulated regulatory provisions.
"Examination of Tariff is in vogue for last many years since the inception of TTO in the year 1999," it said.
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It also issued a separate clarification on issues related to 'draft regulations on the accuracy of metering and billing system'.
Trai asserted that the proposed regulations, in fact, reduce the burden of service providers in terms of the number of audits being conducted in a year. Instead of auditing each LSA in each quarter, an audit is proposed on a yearly basis. This means each LSA is to be audited only once a year.
"Emphasis has been given to the audit of the centralised system rather than reaching to each LSA and duplicating the audit of each plan. Now, LSA audit will be subjected to only those plans which are not subjected to the centralised audit," Trai said.
"Provisions have been made for self-correction of errors by the service providers. If the corrective actions are taken in time by service providers, then no financial disincentives will be imposed," it added.
A self-certificate in this regard will meet the audit requirement, it said.
"The audit methodology currently in practice does not represent all segments of pre-paid customers, which contribute almost 95 per cent of the total customer base. The plan selection process has been rationalised to get a proper representation of all types of plans. However, in this case, also, the total quantum of samples will be similar to earlier quantum," the regulator said.
Though Trai acknowledged that most of the plans offered are on an unlimited basis, however, each plan has got fair usage policy (FUP) limit, which determines the quality and quantity of usage of service by the consumers.
"To have the continued confidence of consumers towards the service provider and the regulator, it is essential to continue the audit process," it said.
Efforts have been made to encourage service providers to refund overcharged amounts, if any detected, during the audit, to the customers promptly. Accordingly, the impact of financial disincentives has also been rationalised, Trai said.
"Confidence built-up on system accuracy through audit process shall further reduce the burden of LSA audit on the Service Providers," it added.
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