VIL drops faster speed claim in priority offering, informs Trai about filing revised plan

The company's website too is no longer touting claims of faster speeds for the pay-more-for-priority-treatment mobile plan, which had been under the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's (Trai) scanner in the past few weeks.

NEW DELHI: Vodafone Idea (Vi) has filed a revised RedX postpaid tariff plan with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), removing the contentious ‘Priority 4G network’ feature and claim of faster data speeds to avert a potential ban of its premium tariff offer by the sector regulator.

“Vi has fallen in line by modifying RedX and submitting a revised tariff plan, doing away with the priority on 4G network feature and the claim of faster data speeds,” a senior Trai official told ET.

Another industry executive said that with VIL withdrawing the two contentious elements from its RedX premium offer, Trai is unlikely to have any further issues, and accordingly, won’t bar the tariff plan any more.


Over the past two months, Trai has been examining if the RedX plan degrades the quality of services for Vi’s other users on non-premium tariff offers.

At press time, Vi did not reply to ET’s queries on its submission of a revised RedX offer.

RedX postpaid plan details on Vi’s website though have no mention of priority network access and faster data speeds any more. The telco though is offering priority customer services to RedX users along with special deals on Samsung devices with complimentary mobile insurance. It will also offer RedX users free, fast delivery and access to the best shopping deals on Amazon.
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Vi appears to have emulated Bharti Airtel, which had modified its similar ‘Platinum’ tariff plan and averted any action by the sector regulator.

Back in November 2019, when RedX was originally launched, Vi had said customers opting for the premium plan would enjoy up to 50% faster data speeds than its other postpaid plans. Subsequently, RedX was tweaked in May 2020, offering the ‘Priority 4G network’ feature with faster data speeds.

Last month, Trai had asked Vi why it shouldn’t ban the RedX plan that appeared to make false claims about offering faster data speeds and misleading consumers.

The RedX stakes are big for Vi as it has almost 130,000 customers on the plan who would have possibly switched to rivals Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio if the premium offer was banned by Trai. It now remains to be seen if the minimum six-month subscription span condition built into the plan helps Vi hold on to its RedX user base, especially with the revised RedX plan no longer offering faster data speeds and priority network access. Vi continues to state on its website that it will levy a flat Rs 3,000 (inclusive of taxes) as an early exit charge if a RedXcustomer leaves the plan within six months of plan activation.
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Earlier this month, Vi had responded to Trai’s show-cause notice on RedX, but people aware said the regulator was dissatisfied and maintained that the May 2020 version of the RedX plan falsely suggested that the Priority 4G network feature was available continuously when in reality it is applied only during short spans of network congestion, so that RedXcustomers enjoy faster speeds and a better experience during peak hours and in crowded places.

Trai officials had told ET previously that Vi must ideally clarify to RedX customers that the telco can’t guarantee faster data speeds if the plan is to continue. This is also since the regulator has been strongly opposed to the idea of telcos charging consumers a premium for faster data speeds and fragmenting the 4G information highway on a tariff-wise basis.
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Earlier, Vi had said Trai’s concerns around RedX were not based on facts and that its premium plan users – not even 0.1% of its 4G user base – couldn’t hurt services for the others.

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