Voda Idea, Airtel accused of anti-consumer practices

Non-profit group Telecom Watchdog on Thursday questioned new minimum monthly recharge plans of Airtel and Vodafone Idea and charged the operators of indulging in "anti-consumer activities", but the firms asserted that the plans are fully compliant with rules.

In a letter to Trai, Telecom Watchdog flagged concerns over the manner in which the two companies had allegedly fixed similar tariffs at the same time.

It claimed that forcing users to cough-up a minimum monthly amounts was like demanding a monthly rent "which is not the practice for pre-paid users".

"We wish to bring to your kind notice an alarming situation under which two telecom operators - Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea - have once again resorted to anti-consumer activities. In total disregard to the regulatory principles, they have now unilaterally decided to terminate the services of subscribers within 15 days of the expiry of validity period of the `special tariff plan'," Telecom Watchdog said in a letter to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

"All tariff plans of Bharti Airtel are in compliance with the applicable regulations. The matter raised by the TRAI, relating to the communication of the tariff plans to the consumers, has already been addressed," an Airtel spokesperson said in an email response.

The spokesperson added the company did not wish to respond to "frivolous allegations".

A Vodafone Idea spokesperson, too, categorically denied what it termed were levelling of "baseless allegations".

"Catering to the changing needs of consumers, Vodafone Idea has radically simplified its prepaid plans to enhance customer convenience. These plans are fully compliant to all applicable regulations and guidelines. We have rolled them out nationally and are actively communicating with customers, informing them of changes and helping them avail these new plans," the Vodafone Idea spokesperson said.

Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea have been looking to boost their revenue realisation per user and recently announced minimum monthly recharge plans starting from Rs 35. 

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Voda Idea, Airtel accused of anti-consumer practices

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