Reliance Jio offers: Trai to examine validity again after TDSAT order

TDSAT refused to stay Reliance Jio’s free offers — Welcome Offer and Happy New Year Offer —as a result of which these offers will continue till the end of March


Reliance Jio announced recently that it will start charging for its mobile services from 1 April. Photo: AFP
Reliance Jio announced recently that it will start charging for its mobile services from 1 April. Photo: AFP

New Delhi: The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) on Thursday asked the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to re-examine the approval for Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd’s free offers and inform the tribunal about its findings in two weeks.

The tribunal refused to stay Reliance Jio’s free offers — Welcome Offer and Happy New Year Offer —as a result of which these offers will continue till the end of March.

TDSAT is hearing appeals filed by telecom service providers Bharti Airtel Ltd and Idea Cellular Ltd questioning Reliance Jio’s free services. The telcos have accused Trai for not stopping what they call Jio’s predatory pricing.

The tribunal had earlier asked the telecom authority to clarify whether the two offers fell within the Telecom Consumers’ Protection (TCP) Regulations 2012, which provide categories under which various tariff plans and vouchers can be introduced.

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On 31 January 31, Trai after its preliminary examination had said that Reliance Jio’s free voice calling and data plans were not violation of the regulatory guidelines on promotional offers.

The offers which were originally for a three-month period, from 5 September to 5 December, were extended till 31 December, and further extended until 31 March.

Last month, Reliance Jio said it would start charging existing and new subscribers. Those who join by 31 March will be eligible for its Happy New Year Offer until 31 March, 2018 by paying a one-time fee of Rs99 and thereafter, by paying Rs303 a month.

The Delhi high court is also hearing a plea by Vodafone Mobile Services Ltd contending that Reliance Jio had failed to comply with the regulatory framework by offering promotional tariffs beyond the stipulated 90-day period.

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