TDSAT reserves order on Reliance Jio’s free voice, data offer


NEW DELHI: The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) on Thursday reserved its order on an interim appeal seeking a stay on Reliance Jio Infocomm’s free promotional offer.

The plea was filed by Bharti AirtelBSE 0.72 % and Idea Cellular who sought that the tribunal orders the telecom regulator to ask Jio to stop its promotional offer of free voice and data services with immediate effect.

The plea had also sought a direction to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to produce all records related to the regulator’s decision.

The plea was filed in response to the free voice and data services being offered by the Mukesh Ambani controlled Jio, which had doled out free services first under the Welcome offer from September 5 last year and later under the Happy New Year Offer to the subscribers.

Free services will be available to Jio subscribers till March 31after which the company will charge its users.

While Jio has maintained that it had not violated any tariff orders in offering these two promotional offers to its subscribers, incumbent operators like Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular moved the telecom dispute tribunal against Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) for allowing the new operator to continue free promotional offer beyond the stipulated 90 days. Bharti had charged the regulator of being a “mute spectator”.

However, on January 31, 2017, Trai had said that Reliance Jio’s free voice calling and data plan were not violation of the regulatory guidelines on promotional offers.

Trai had said that its examination had revealed that the ‘Happy New Year Offer’ launched by Reliance Jio on December 4, 2016 was distinct from its previous Jio Welcome Offer and could not be treated as an extension of the promotional offer as the benefits under both differed.