April ended with many busybodies swarming the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) office in New Delhi. There were several meetings that demanded “all hands on deck”, called to figure out ways to deal with a major blow to Trai’s role and image. The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) had recently issued a partial stay on Trai’s rules on predatory pricing and defining a significant market player (SMP), i.e. having more than 30% market share, which it set in February. An official present in the meetings said that the stay was akin to “cutting off their limbs” and not letting Trai do its job.
Toothless Tiger: Between court cases, Trai can’t regulate the industry
Multiple court cases are attacking the core functions of the telecom regulator. Defanged by court decisions, Trai’s new regulations are seen favouring Reliance Jio
Trai's core functions are to regulate tariffs, interconnection and quality of service in the telecom industry. Multiple cases are hampering its functioning
Its recent regulations are seen as being favourable only to Reliance Jio. But Trai feels that they are needed as they move to data networks
Operators concede that data networks are the future. Therefore it becomes crucial that Trai is not seen as partisan towards players with new rules
A Parliamentary committee is now looking at amending the Trai Act to give it more powers to regulate the industry