Floor Tussle

July 18, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Bharti Airtel unit has taken floor prices imposed by the regulator to court complaining that it helps the market leader and hurts the consumer, a media report said. Bharti Airtel Lanka, has petitioned Sri Lanka’s supreme court, The Island newspaper said Saturday. The court has to agree to hear the case for it to proceed.

Sri Lanka’s telecom regulatory imposed floor tariffs of two rupees per minute on mobile operators last week and also set interconnection charges requiring originating networks to pay the terminating operator, ending a ‘sender keeps all’ regime.

The Island said Airtel had alleged in its pleadings that it had filed tariff plans below the floor price which the regulator has not approved while competitors had been allowed similar packages.

The regulator allowed existing tariff plans, which were designed during a price war, to continue.

Airtel had asked that any floor price imposed should be applied to all tariff

Airtel had pleaded that regulator’s decision “prevented a level playing field and was arbitrary, and/or capricious, and/or irrational, violative of the Constitution and of natural justice,” the newspaper said. A