UPDATE: Reliance Jio has refused to comment on the issue as of now.
Seems like Reliance Jio is still not out of troubled waters as far as their free voice calling and data offers are concerned. The firebrand telecom entrant has now been asked by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to explain how its extended promotional offer does not violate regulations. As per pre-existing norms, promotional offers are allowed for a limited time period of 90 days. Reliance Jio’s promotional welcome offer with 4GB of free data daily, free voice calls was supposed to end on December 3, but the company extended the same till March 31, 2017.
TRAI’s fresh inquiry comes a few days after incumbent operator Airtel filed a 25-page petition with the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT), saying that TRAI has been a “mute spectator” while Reliance Jio has been wrongly permitted to continue its promotional offer beyond 90 days.
However, it should be noted that on December 21, TRAI had given Reliance Jio a green chit for its promotional offer, after investigating the company for predatory pricing. The regulator had stated that Reliance Jio’s offer of lifetime free voice calling services complies with existing rules and is not discriminatory. PTI had reported that the authority sent a letter to telecom operators which stated, “it is found that the tariff plans filed with TRAI cannot be considered as IUC non-complaint, predatory and discriminatory, at present.”
Seems like the regulator is under pressure from the quasi-judicial tribunal, after Airtel’s appeal against the discriminatory nature of Jio’s services. We are awaiting an official comment from Reliance Jio on the same.