The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on Thursday said it would examine Reliance Jio’s extension of free 4G services for all its customers till March 31, 2017. Trai chairman RS Sharma said the regulatory body would look into the matter and come up with its response “at an appropriate time”, PTI reported. “Every tariff that is filed before us is examined,” Sharma said.
On Thursday, Reliance Industries Limited Chairman Mukesh Ambani had announced that all new Reliance Jio users will receive data, voice, video and “the full bouquet of Jio applications” free of cost from December 4 to March 31, 2017. All existing customers will get the extended benefits of the “Jio Happy New Year” offer on their current SIM cards.
Earlier, Trai said Jio had to end the benefits it is offering new subscribers by December 3. The regulator had also said the company’s existing tariffs were not predatory and discriminatory. Trai’s order came after incumbent telecom operators such as Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone India on October 1 sought a clarification from the body on whether Jio flouted norms by offering free voice calls for life.
Jio has been at odds with the above three telecom operators since its commercial launch in September. The company has complained that its competitors have not been providing the required interconnections, causing a large number of call drops. This was echoed by Ambani on Thursday, who claimed that nearly “900 crore voice calls from Jio to the networks of our three largest competitors were blocked”. “Benefits of Jio’s superior technology have been denied to customers due to anti-competitive behaviour of incumbent operators.”
In this regard, Jio has also filed a complaint with the Competition Commission of India in the matter, accusing its competitors of abusing their market positions to deny it enough points-of-interconnection for its customers. In October, Jio’s claims were supported by Trai when it recommended fining Airtel, Idea and Vodafone Rs 3,050 crore for failing to provide newcomer Reliance Jio with the requisite number of interconnections. Trai claimed the three companies’ actions were an attempt to stifle competition, terming it an “ulterior motive”.