Letter to BS: Telecom operators should settle their price war themselves

This refers to the editorial "Pricing power" (December 9). All the three private telecom operators have shown rare unanimity in asking the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to fix floor prices for mobile data services. This is somewhat unexpected as the market disruptor Reliance Jio, unlike the other two private operators, was not in favour of any floor prices till some time back. However, it seems that Jio might have had a change of heart, as floor prices, if fixed by the regulator, would only strengthen its already strong position.

However, the Trai has all along maintained that floor prices are not desirable. The editorial rightly makes a point that fixing floor price would be anti-consumer. Trai is mandated to protect the health of the telecom sector, of which the consumers are the biggest stakeholders. As such, Trai need not accept the plea of telcos for fixing floor prices.

Warring telcos should settle their price war themselves and not make Trai a party to it. Also, it is a misplaced notion that voice and not data is an essential service and only the former should be under the forbearance regime. In fact, mobile data now has become quite an essential part of communication, at times, replacing voice calls due to the widespread use of free messaging apps. Only market should determine the price. 

Sanjeev Kumar Singh, Jabalpur
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