Trai overlooked non-compliance by Reliance Jio by allowing free offers: Vodafone
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New Delhi: Vodafone Mobile Services Ltd on Tuesday told the Delhi high court that Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd (RJIL) had failed to comply with the regulatory framework by offering promotional tariffs beyond the stipulated 90 days period.
Vodafone said that RJIL’s offers were not in compliance with the principles of interconnect usage charges (IUC) as the company was extending free voice calls as part of the scheme.
IUC or termination charges are paid by the telco from which the call originates, to the telco which receives the call.
“It is the fundamental obligation of a service provider to ensure that they comply with the telecom regulations, something that has been overlooked by the telecom regulator (Trai) too. Promotional offers must be based on a weighted average of all the plans being offered and should be consistent with the IUC norms.” Dayan Krishnan, counsel for Vodafone said.
It was also pointed out that as one of the conditions of its offers, the company had stated that it was free to extend the offer before the 31 December deadline.
RJIL contested the maintainability of the suit and said that the high court was not the appropriate forum as the issue was already being heard by the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT), a forum specialising in adjudicating telecom matters.
On the same day, Reliance Industries Ltd chairman Mukesh Ambani announced that his telecom venture, RJIL would start charging from its customers from 1 April. All domestic voice calls, however, to any network would, however, be free across India.
Last week, at the Nasscom Leadership Summit, Ambani had confirmed that the Jio had achieved its target of 100 million subscribers within five months of its launch, Mint reported.
R-Jio’s free call offers were cleared by Trai in October 2016, where it said that “the tariff plans filed with Trai cannot be considered as IUC non-complaint, predatory and discriminatory, at present.”
The promotional offers which were originally for a three-month period, from 5 September to 5 December were extended till 31 December. They were further extended until 31 March.
This comes in the backdrop of the ongoing dispute between telcos like Bharti Airtel Ltd and Idea Cellular Ltd which have approached the TDSAT against the Trai’s permission granted to Jio to extend promotional offers beyond 90 days.
The appellate body has asked the telecom regulator to furnish details and copies of the company’s two offers- ‘Welcome Offer’ and ‘Happy New Year Offer’.
The case will be next heard on 27 February.