Telecom majors such as Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone India and others have sought a clarification from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on whether Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd flouted norms by offering free voice calls for life. In a letter submitted to the authority on Friday, they pointed out that Trai has a three-month cap for promotional plans, which makes Jio's offer of free voice calls and a data pack from September 5 till the end of the year a violation of the rule, The Economic Times reported.
Apart from the promotional offers, the companies also voiced their opposition to Jio's "predatory pricing". Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said, "If a voice service is provided for free, it would be less than the interconnection usage charges of 14 paise a minute and fall foul of the Telecommunication Tariff Order of Trai."
A Reliance Jio spokesperson, however, claimed that the tariffs offered by the newly-launched firm are "in full compliance" with the Trai order. According to the Mukesh AMbani-led company, these offers are not "promotional plans" but benefits to consumers.
Trai Chairperson RS Sharma on Friday said operators had met them and raised concerns over Jio's interconnection usage charges as well as "predatory and non-discriminatory pricing", among other issues. Sharma told Mint that the issue of interconnection points was discussed at length during the meeting. According to reports, the regulatory body is likely to give its views on the matter within 10 days.
The matter came up after Reliance Jio alleged that other service providers had not given the company enough points of interconnection, blaming that for the call drops on its network. Sharma said, "We have requested them to give a daily congestion report till the issue is resolved". Earlier, the regulator had slapped a showcause notice on telecom operators after it was found that the high call failure rate was because of the PoI issue and not a result of Jio's weak network. Trai had sought data on network congestion levels between September 15 and 19.
Network operators have sought Trai's intervention at a time when telecom majors are gearing up for the biggest spectrum auction on Saturday. As much as 2,354.55 megahertz of spectrum will be up for bids on Saturday. Jio had deposited Rs 6,500 crore as earnest payment of the total Rs 14,653 crore given by the companies, including Airtel, Vodafone, Reliance Communications, Idea Cellular, Aircel and Tata Teleservices.