Reliance Jio’s extension of free promotional offer hits a TRAI roadblock

A day after Bharti Airtel telecom moved Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) on December 26 against TRAI’s allowing Reliance Jio to continue free promotional offer beyond 90 days on, the telecom regulator seeked an explanation from the the Mukesh Ambani-led firm on why extension of its free voice and data plan should not be considered as violation of existing regulations which limit the promotional offers for 90 days.

In its petition to TDSAT, Bharti Airtel termed TRAI as a ‘mute spectator’ to alleged violations. Further specifying its reasons for petition, Airtel said the “free services” continue in blatant violation of the TRAI’s Directions, Tariff Orders and the Regulations. TRAI, in its decision dated October 20 had granted a clearance to Reliance since the Jio’s promotional offer of free services was only valid till December 3, it is consistent with the “90 days” directions of TRAI. “The TRAI further without affording any reasoning baldly, cryptically and in a non-transparent manner in violation of Section 11(4) of the TRAI Act concluded that the Tariff Plans offered by the said TSP are not non-compliant with IUC and are not predatory and discriminatory at present,” mentions an Indian Express report.

While TRAI’s officials are examining the issue closely, Jio has been offered a period of 5 days to give a clarification on why its promotional scheme should not be treated as “predatory”. Following the same, a notice was sent to the telecom giant on December 20. According to several media reports, Jio, in a meeting with TRAI stated that the latest Happy New Year offer is substantially different from the Jio Welcome Offer. The initial offer had provided 4GB of free data per day, and in the new offer the same was brought down to 1GB under Fair Usage Policy. The second and major difference is that in Jio’s Welcome offer there was no option of renewal or payment after the 4GB limit was exhausted, but in the new offer, one can recharge both data and the promised speed.

The Reliance company first launched an inaugural free voice and data scheme on September 4, which was supposed to end on December 3. The service was extended till March 31, earlier this month. Mukesh Ambani, while addressing the stakeholders via live video broadcast on December 1 announced the ‘Happy New Year Plan’ and also unveiled the future plans for Jio and telecommunication industry in.

Some key takeaways from the official announcements made by Ambani:

- On an average, a Jio customer is using 25 times more data than the average Indian broadband user.

- Jio Welcome Offer, was to get valuable feedback from the consumers and to iron out deficiencies

- Jio has signed-up over 6 lakh customers every single day for the past 3 months

-Jio has successfully rolled out eKYC (know your customer) across 2 lakh outlets in India, which is the same as number of ATMs in India.

- While customers have shown unprecedented love for #Jio, we have not received the required support from existing operators

- In the last 3 months, nearly 900 crore voice calls from #Jio to the networks of our 3 largest competitors were blocked

- Benefits of #Jio’s superior technology have been denied to customers due to anti-competitive behaviour of incumbent operators. Over the past months, the call block rate has come down from over 90% to nearly 20% as of November 30.

-Given the gravity of the situation, the authorities have intervened and instructed all the operators to provide sufficient interconnection capacity.

- Jio is committed to ensuring that all domestic voice calls by Jio customers will be free forever

-The Aadhaar-based eKYC has allowed us to sign up six lakh customers everyday for the last 3 months.

-Jio has recently launched home delivery of Jio SIMs. Get a Jio SIM home-delivered and activated in 5 minutes through eKYC

-This facility is being launched across India through MyJio and will be available in top 100 cities by 31 December 2016.

-Jio is not only delivering 4 times more data than all other Indian telecom operators combined but also much faster throughputs than any other mobile network in India.

-All existing #Jio customers will get extended benefits of Jio Happy New Year offer till 31 March 2017 on current SIMs.

-Starting 4 December 2016, every new Jio user will get Jio’s Data, Voice, Video and the full bouquet of Jio applications absolutely free till 31 March 2017, as a part of the “Jio Happy New Year Offer”.

-We have fine-tuned our fair usage policy to ensure all users get fair share of network capacity under ‘Happy New Year’ offer. In this period Jio customers will also be able to test-drive digital recharge, billing experience, using JioMoney wallet.


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