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Updated: December 3, 2009 17:21 IST

Airtel asks TRAI to look into predatory pricing

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Manoj Kohli, CEO, Bharti Airtel File Photo: V. V. Krishnan
Manoj Kohli, CEO, Bharti Airtel File Photo: V. V. Krishnan

At a time when mobile tariffs are touching the lowest levels, the market leader Bharti Airtel on Thursday sought sectoral regulator TRAI’s intervention to ensure that players do not resort to predatory pricing practices to woo subscribers.

“The Telecom Reuglatory Authority of India (TRAI) should look at predatory pricing,” Bharti Airtel CEO Manoj Kohli told reporters here on Thursday.

With a view to retain and add new subscribers, the mobile operators have started offering tariffs as low as half-a-paisa per second.

Asked whether tariffs be regulated, Mr. Kohli said, “tariffs have to be sustainable in the long-run. TRAI should definitely look at predatory pricing — that is tariff lower than the cost structure of operators.”

Eight new mobile operators have started or about to start services in the country. Telecom Minister A Raja had said that mobile tariffs should come down to 10 paise for local calls and for 25 paise STD calls per minute.

Mr. Kohli, however, expressed concern about high rate of taxes and levies being paid by telecom operators.

On further scope of tariff cuts, he said, “the next level of tariff cuts would come from the reduction in high taxes and levis which are burdening the telecom users. There is 30-31 per cent tax which the users have to bear right now.” If the tax burden is lowered, tariffs would come down further, he said.

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