Regulators

Jio offers: TDSAT gives TRAI time to explain

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MUMBAI: The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has asked the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to clarify whether Reliance Jio Infocomm’s offers -- Happy New Year offer and Welcome offer -- are aligned with the letter and spirit of the tariff order.

TDSAT asked TRAI to provide an explanation on whether the provision of the two Jio offers as well as their implementation follow Telecom Consumers Protection Regulation. TRAI is expected to file its response by 15 February before TDSAT takes a decision possibly on next hearing on 20 February.

The tribunal has asked TRAI to explain whether Jio’s two offers are at variance. TRAI has also been been told to explain whether Jio had informed its subscribers that the two offers were non-similar and whether it took the ‘subscriber's approval’. 

TRAI had stated that Jio's New Year offer was not violative of the principles of non-discrimination, interlinked rule compliance and was non-predatory. TRAI recently gave a go-ahead to Jio's free mobile voice calling and data plan on the condition that the scheme is not a violation of the guidelines on promotional offers.

On 4 December 2016, Jio launched Happy New Year offer which was distinct from its earlier Welcome Offer and could not be treated as an extension of the earlier promotional offer as the benefits were different. Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular had petitioned TDSAT for allowing Jio to continue its promotional offer for over 90 days.

Jio spokesperson however said that Airtel's intention was to divert attention from its own violation of licensing conditions by denying PoIs to Jio. Airtel was also acting against consumer interest by opposing Jio's ‘free voice’ benefit. All Jio plans had been found to be non-predatory by TRAI, Jio stated.

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