More reports on: Reliance Industries, Telecom

Reliance Jio says no rules broken as govt seeks details of user trials

17 August 2016

Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio said on Tuesday its trial offer of unlimited data services for free for three months to customers on their yet to be commercially launched 4G services will stay, amidst complaints by incumbent telecom operators of Jio's rather extravagant trial offer.

The trial offer will continue as promised, but customers will have to purchase Jio's Lyf mobile handsets in order to avail the particular offer, company source said, adding Jio will abide by what the Trai or the government instructs.

The telecom ministry has, meanwhile, sought details of the 1.5 million users of Reliance Jio's services and the tariff plans, following complaints that the telco had started offering services to customers ahead of a formal launch.

The telecom ministry has written to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), seeking details about Reliance Jio providing services to customers ahead of a formal launch. The ministry also wanted to know whether the company has filed a tariff plan.

The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), the GSM segment lobby group that include major service providers such as Vodafone and Airtel, has raised concerns that the wider tests being conducted by Reliance Jio could be actual roll-out of service. The department of telecom has made a preliminary inquiry into the company's test launch, say reports.

"Trai may like to examine if Reliance Jio is complying with its tariff order," a Times of India report quoted a senior government official as saying. "DoT is trying to ascertain whether Reliance Jio has started commercial operations in what they call a test period and whether they have filed tariff orders," the official said.

Rival telcos have complained that Reliance Jio is trying to wean away customers through its test launch.

Trai will ascertain the scope of Reliance Jio's test period. "Trai has the domain to look at them. Are they in a test period, or is the test over? We are asking them whether Reliance Jio is complying with the test procedures that Trai has laid out and also with the tariff orders," the report quoted an official as saying.

The telecom ministry is also looking into possible revenue generation by Reliance Jio through the sale of its handsets and select partnerships with companies such as Samsung.

Any "possible avoidance in reporting of revenues" through the "sale of bundled handsets and other devices" would amount to violation of licensing conditions, the officials said.

Reliance Jio Infocomm on Tuesday wrote to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), urging it to ensure that it gets inter-connectivity to test its services and called for action against existing telecom companies for violating licensing conditions by denying its requests for additional points of inter-connection

Reliance Jio officials said the company has duly informed the need and process relating to the test trials to DoT and Trai from time to time.

"During the ongoing test trials, Reliance Jio is particularly testing the business processes, platforms, quality of service parameters and technical system readiness for customers for on-boarding, usage, billing, payment, mobile number portability, roaming, customer care, etc. However, we are ensuring all applicable compliances while on-boarding the test users." Guliani added, "There would be no charges payable by any of the test users (without any discrimination),'' he added.

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