Vodafone contended before Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva that inter-connection usage charges (IUC) form the floor price as per tariff orders of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and “one cannot go below that”.
The company alleged that by providing the free voice calls and continuing to do so as a promotional offer beyond a period of 90 days, RJIO was violating IUC norms and TRAI tariff orders and regulations.
It said it was also aggrieved by TRAI’s stand of allowing the alleged violation to continue.
Opposing maintainability of Vodafone’s plea, RJIO said if the telecom major was aggrieved by TRAI’s decision giving a clean chit to RJIO, then it should be challenged before the Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) as done by Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular.
The court thereafter listed the matter for hearing on February 27 when it will hear arguments on maintainability of Vodafone’s petition alleging inaction by TRAI against RJIO for alleged violation of tariff orders and regulations.
During the day’s hearing, Vodafone contended that free plans can be offered as long as the weighted average of all other plans of a telecom service provider (TSP) complied with IUC floor price.
To this, the court asked what if the subscribers opted for only the free plans.
In response, Vodafone said that TSPs have to tailor their plans in such a way that customers opt for other plans also as the operating costs have to be recovered as per tariff orders.
However, voice calls are completely free across all the plans of RJIO, Vodafone said.
RJIO had on last date said that TRAI has held that its free offers to subscribers was perfectly legitimate.
Vodafone, in its plea, has sought a direction to TRAI to “fully implement/ensure compliance of each and all regulatory and legal principles” laid down in the tariff orders, directions and regulations by the regulator or any other authority as well as to ensure that RJIO does not violate them.