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Reliance Jio gets a breather: TDSAT postpones free services hearing to May 3

The hearing for accusations posed by Airtel against Reliance Jio for providing free services beyond the 90 day period, was scheduled for today.

Reliance Jio has beenaccused by Airtel and Idea for illegally offering free data services beyond90 days and they had petitioned TDSAT (Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal) about the same. Thehearing for the case was scheduled for today but in an early morning development, it has beenpostponed to May 3rd.

Along with the petition, Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman Bharti Airtel, had also sent in an interim application accusing Reliance Jio of delaying the withdrawal process for its Summer Surprise offer,in order to get in more users to itsPrime membership. If you are not aware, Reliance Jio’s Summer Surprise offer gave away same benefits under the Happy New Year offer i.e. 1GB of 4G data per day along with free calls and SMS free for three months by just paying Rs 303. Further, this payment of Rs 303 will actually be used once the three-month complimentary service period has been exhausted.

Going back, Reliance Jio first introduced its free services back in September 2016 with its ‘Welcome Offer’ where users were given 4GB of 4G data per day along with free calls and SMS. Post 90 days period which ended on March 31st, 2016, Reliance Jio again offered free services, now in the name of ‘Happy New Year’ offer where it offered 1GB of 4G data per day along with free calls and SMS.

As a result, other telecom operators like Airtel and Idea asked TRAI to check with Reliance Jio as it violates the terms and guidelines put up by TRAI in relation to free services. However, TRAI favoured Reliance Jio, in this matter, and gave them a go ahead after which Airtel and Idea Cellular moved to Tribunal. TRAI backed up its decision for Reliance Jio as the Happy New Year offer was distinct from the Welcome Offer in terms of services (amount of internet given to a user per day).

Reliance Jio Summer Surprise offer was introduced on 31st March, after which TRAI soon intervened and asked Jio to withdraw the offer to which Jio accepted and claimed that it will withdraw as soon as it operationally feasible.

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