Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has found guilty Idea of overcharging its customers in four states – Maharashtra, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.
The TRAI has penalized Idea of Rs 2,97,90,173 after it found out that Idea has levied differential tariffs in the four states from a period of May 2005 to January 2007.
“The Authority has come to the conclusion that the differential tariffs levied by private GSM operators operating in the aforesaid four States of Maharashtra, West Bengal, Tamilnadu and UP for calls terminating in the network of BSNL/ MTNL from one service area to other service area within the same State, is discriminatory and inconsistent with the amended licence conditions notified by DoT on 20/5/2005,” TRAI said in a statement.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India in February 2006 directed mobile service providers to differential rates being levied by them on subscribers. It asked operators to refund excess amount that they charged to their customers. The direction was challenged by the Cellular Operators Association of India and other telecom operators while they continued charging higher rates to consumers.
Telecom tribunal TDSAT dismissed COAI’s appeal following which the industry body moved the Supreme Court. The apex court dismissed the appeal in January 2015. Idea Cellular said that the excess amount cannot be refunded to subscribers as call data records of that period are not available with it. The regulator, therefore, directed Idea to deposit the fund in TCEPF.