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Reliance Jio tariff case: Attorney general favours non-intervention of Trai

The attorney general is believed to have communicated to Trai that Reliance Jio’s tariff plans do not violate any existing regulation and therefore it should not intervene in the matter


Trai had asked for the attorney general Mukul Rohatgi’s views on Reliance Jio’s free voice and data offering till March that rivals have termed ‘predatory’.  Photo: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint
Trai had asked for the attorney general Mukul Rohatgi’s views on Reliance Jio’s free voice and data offering till March that rivals have termed ‘predatory’. Photo: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint

New Delhi: The attorney general, Mukul Rohatgi, is believed to have communicated to Trai that Reliance Jio’s tariff plans do not violate any existing regulation or order issued by the regulator and therefore it should not intervene in the matter.

“AG has favoured non-intervention of Trai in Reliance Jio’s tariff case,” people familiar with the matter said.

Trai had asked for the attorney general’s views on billionaire Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio’s free voice and data offering till March that rivals have termed “predatory”.

Airtel and Idea Cellular had also approached telecom dispute tribunal TDSAT against regulator Trai for allowing Reliance Jio to continue its free promotional offer beyond the stipulated 90 days. The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT), in turn, had asked Trai to decide on the matter within “reasonable time”.

The matter is slated to come up for hearing on Wednesday. Trai had earlier asked Reliance Jio to clarify as to “why the offer of free data under the promotional offer should not be treated as predatory” and also explain why its tariffs were not in violation of existing regulatory guidelines.

In its response, Reliance Jio had stated that its latest Happy New Year offer is substantially different from the Reliance Jio Welcome Offer—which commenced on 5 September — as in the initial offer, it had provided 4 GB of free data per day, while in the new one, the same was capped at 1 GB under Fair Usage Policy.

Also, it contended that in the first, there was no option of renewal or payment after the 4GB limit was exhausted, but in the fresh offering, one can recharge both data and the promised speed.

In terms of market dominance, Reliance Jio accounts for 6% market share in the country whereas the Competition Commission of India (CCI) norms specify 30% threshold to trigger the misuse of market dominance clause.

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