4G at bullet train speed!

New Delhi, Feb 18: Amid slow internet speed and poor coverage in the 4G tarrif plan, Telecom regulator Trai has begun looking into these issues as part of a comprehensive overhaul of rules that govern telecom tariffs in the country.

In a consultation paper 'RegulatoryPrinciples of Tariff Assessment', Trai dealt in detail on issuesrelated to transparency in tariff orders; promotional schemes and their validity; anti-competitive behaviour of operators; andpredatory pricing and dominance by mobile companies.The regulator said that while it has taken a number of regulatory measures to ensure transparency to consumers, it still receives a number of consumer complaints regarding tariff offers not being adequately transparent.

It also spoke about how consumers may be billed for supposedly-superior services, even as the service and network quality are not up to the mark. "While advertising data offers, telecom companies mention the latest technology coverage that a consumer would experience. However, in reality the current networks are a combination of 2G/3G/4G technologies and consumers experience the benefit of latest technology in patches only. This leads to consumer dissatisfaction," Trai said. "Therefore, it has to be conveyed clearly to the consumer that the coverage would be subject to availability of the network."

The regulator said that transparency in tariff is, and has been, a prime issue of concern for it. "Trai has issued several directions and guidelines in order to ensure transparency in tariff offers to protect the interests of the consumers. However, despite the various measures... Trai has been receiving complaints from consumers and consumer organizations highlighting, inter-alia, issues concerning transparency in the tariff offers of telecom companies," it said in the consultation paper, adding that many of the tariff plans are difficult to comprehend and lack transparency.The consultation paper, to which comments are sought till March 17, also seeks views on anti-competitive behaviour in tariff offers and predatory pricing. Abuse of dominance is also an area on which it has sought comments.