More reports on: Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, Telecom

Telecom tribunal reserves order on Reliance Jio's free promo offer

10 March 2017

The Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT), the telecom tribunal on Thursday reserved its order on appeals filed by Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular which sought a stay on Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio's free promotional offer, media reports said.

The tribunal is reported to have reserved its order after hearing the views of the complainants as well as Reliance Jio and the sector regulator Telecon Regulatory Authority of India (Trai).

Bharti Airtel, in its appeal, had sought a stay on Trai's approval for Reliance Jio's continued free promotional offer. It had also alleged that the Trai was ''perpetuating illegality'' by allowing the 4G entrant to continually offer free voice and data services.

Idea Cellular, the country's third-largest telecom service provider, also had subsequently moved the telecom dispute tribunal seeking a direction to the Trai to produce all records related to its decision.

Reliance Jio, which started commercial operations on 5 September 2016 with a 3-month inaugural free voice and data offer, extended it in December till 31 March 2017. Jio, however, maintained that it had not violated any tariff orders in offering these two promotional offers to its subscribers.

The regulator had on 31 January said that Jio's free voice calling and data plan were not the violation of the regulatory guidelines on promotional offers and that the `Happy New Year Offer', lunched on 4 December, is different from its earlier offer and that it cannot be treated as an extension of its earlier offer.

Jio will start charging its customers for its mobile services from 1 April 2017 while continuing to offer services at reduced rates to its earlier customers.

As part of the offer, those recharging with Rs303, Rs499 and above before March 31 will get additional benefits.

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