TRAI allowing Jio to contravene rules, Airtel files affidavit in TDSAT

MUMBAI: Bharti Airtel has escalated its legal battle against the telecom regulator TRAI, filing an additional affidavit in the telecom tribunal TDSAT in which it has slammed the watchdog for what it termed “tacitly” allowing Reliance Jio Infocomm to break rules around “anti-competitive” promotional offers.

In the affidavit filed with the Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) on Tuesday, India’s No. 1 telco Airtel has made the allegations, Sat release stated.

On 23 December, Airtel had moved TDSAT against TRAI for not acting against Jio despite the latter reportedly violating its regulatory orders that restrain operators from offering free voice calls and providing promotional plans beyond an initial 90-day period.

TDSAT then asked TRAI to furnish a reply for which the latter sought time even as it sent a notice to Jio. The next date for hearing the matter is 1 February. Meanwhile, TDSAT permitted Jio to also become party to the case so that the operator will also be filing its application on the matter.

“It is respectfully submitted that the present appeal is at a very initial stage and pleadings are yet to be completed. The appellant is filing the present additional affidavit only to bring on record certain additional grounds of challenge. Since the present appeal is at an initial stage and the pleadings are yet to be completed, no prejudice whatsoever will be caused to the respondent if the present affidavit is taken on record. Moreover, the said grounds are essential to the adjudication of the present appeal and thus grave prejudice will be caused to the appellant if the present affidavit is not taken on record,” Bharti has said in its additional affidavit, the FE reported.

Bharti has reiterated its allegation that the free services offered by Jio were predatory as they had been introduced only to kill competition rather than encourage it.

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