By: Rohan Pal, The Mobile Indian, New Delhi
Last updated : Friday, January 20, 2017 - 20:13
TRAI has asked Reliance Jio to clarify why the offer of free data under the promotional offer should not be treated as predatory.
It seems like Reliance Jio is in trouble again as the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has now asked the Mukesh Ambani-owned company to explain why its extended free services should not be seen as a violation of existing regulation which restricts promotional offers to 90 days. The move comes just after Airtel filed a 25-page petition before Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) accusing the regulator of being a 'mute spectator' and 'sleeping trustee' to the violations carried out by Jio. Airtel, in the petition, has accused that the free services offered by Jio has caused "significant prejudice and day-to-day loss" to it and is "affecting its network" as it has to bear asymmetric traffic due to the free calling services offered by Reliance Jio.
Reliance Jio recently extended its free voice and data services on December 1 by announcing a new Happy New Year offer for both new and existing users which is valid up to March 31, 2017. As per multiple reports, TRAI has asked Reliance Jio to clarify "why the offer of free data under the promotional offer should not be treated as predatory.â€ The regulator is said to have found 'prima facie' evidence that shows the latest offer by Jio is similar to the old Welcome offer, which was introduced on September 5, 2016.
As per PTI sources, Reliance Jio, in a meeting with TRAI, has said that the latest offer is different from the previous offer as in the former, the company provided 4GB of free data per day, but in the latter case, it restricted the free internet up to 1GB under Fair Usage Policy. Jio also stressed on the fact that in the latest offer if the data limit is exhausted then one have to buy recharge vouchers, which was not the case in the initial offer.
Neverthless, The petition was presented before the TDSAT bench on Friday, where the regulatory body has asked for 10 more days to take a decision. The next date of hearing has been set on January 6.