Having increased its tariffs thrice in quick succession over the past few months, Reliance Jio is now prepping several more price hikes in the coming days. According to IANS, India’s largest cellular service provider has proposed to gradually increase data prices in the country to Rs. 20 per GB from Rs. 15 per GB currently. The company also supported TRAI’s decision to mandate a floor price for wireless data service, but urged the regulator not to go the same route with voice tariff because it will adversely affect the poorer sections of society.
The proposals are part of Jio’s response to TRAI’s consultation paper on ‘Tariff issues in Telecom Services’, with the company saying that the target floor price should be implemented in 2-3 installments so as to minimize its impact. The company further said that the floor price for data should be uniformly implemented across all tariffs and be applicable to all consumer segments, including individuals and corporates.
TRAI floated the consultation paper in September to seek stakeholders’ view on the matter, signalling that the regulator was having a rethink about its plans to further bring down costs in the face of stiff opposition from the powerful telecom industry lobby, COAI (Cellular Operators Association of India).
With older telecom service providers like Airtel and Vodafone Idea blaming Jio’s dirt-cheap plans as a major reason for their piling losses, TRAI also announced that it was deferring its plans to abolish the controversial Interconnection Usage Charge (IUC) that operators pay each other for calls made from one network to another. The zero-IUC regime, which was to go into effect from January 1, 2020, has now been postponed by at least one more year.