HC stays TRAI’s proposed CPP regime

By : |October 28, 1999 0

BANGALORE: The Delhi High Court has stayed the implementation of the calling party pays (CPP) regime, scheduled from November 1 as per the order of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). The CPP regime announced by TRAI on September 7 was to be effective from November 1. The next hearing has been scheduled for November 16. The court, meanwhile, has asked the regulator to file a detailed reply on the matter.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice S. N. Variava and Justice S. K. Mahajan in an interim order said the TRAI order ”is a hostile discrimination” against Department of Telecom (DoT) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL). Stating that DoT and MTNL were ‘prima facie’ likely to lose substantial revenue if the CPP regime was implemented, the court also restrained TRAI from taking any penal or coercive action against government agencies and operators for not implementing the new scheme. The court said that several cellular operators were willing to provide free calls under the present system.

MTNL and a non-governmental organization – Telecom Watchdog, had challenged implementation of the new scheme and sought its stay saying MTNL would be losing an estimated revenue of Rs 200 crore annually on this account. MTNL said it is yet to make its network compatible to the technology changes envisaged in the CPP regime and is also opposed to the proposed tariffs and revenue-sharing arrangement. Both organizations in their petitions said under the proposed CPP regime, tariff on the calls made from a land- line phone to mobile subscriber would increase from Rs 1.60 to Rs 2.40 for one to 59 seconds and from Rs 2.40 to Rs 3.60 for next 60 to 119 seconds. The petitioners said the rates for the four subsequent slabs would range from Rs.4.80 to Rs.8.40. The hike was as high as 200 per cent at the bottom and 400 per cent at the highest level of the six proposed slabs by TRAI, petitioner’s counsels told the court.

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