Telecom tribunal refuses to stay Reliance Jio’s free promotional offer

Telecom tribunal refuses to stay Reliance Jio's free promotional offer
Mukesh Ambani announcing the launch of Reliance Jio’s ‘Happy New Year’ offer

The telecom tribunal on Thursday refused to stay Reliance Jio’s free promotional offer, but asked regulator TRAI to re-examine issues relating to the approval granted to the operator to continue with the freebies.

According to a PTI report, the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT), in its order today, asked TRAI to apprise it of the “outcome and findings of the examination” within two weeks.

TDSAT last week had reserved the order on an interim appeal seeking a stay on Reliance Jio’s free offer after hearing all the parties concerned, including TRAI, incumbent operators Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular.

In its interim appeal, Airtel had sought a stay on TRAI’s approval to Jio to continue with the free services. It had also sought a direction to the regulator to produce all the records related to its decision.

The appeal also sought to restrain Jio from providing its consumers the zero tariff plan and promotional plans.

Mukesh Ambani-owned Jio had launched the inaugural free voice and data plan in September last year, and in December, extended the freebies till March 31, 2017.

Following this, the existing players such as Airtel and Idea moved the telecom tribunal against TRAI for letting the new operator continue the free promotional offer beyond the stipulated 90 days.

Existing operators even criticised the regulator for being a mute spectator to the alleged violations.

On January 31, TRAI had held that Jio’s free voice calling and data plan were not violation of the regulatory guidelines as their Happy New Year Offer, launched by Jio on December 4, was different from their Welcome Offer.

Since the benefits under both offers differed, it stated that the latter could not be treated as an extension of the former.

Recently, Jio announced that it will start charging for its mobile services from April 1.

However, both existing and new subscribers can continue to enjoy unlimited benefits of its Happy New Year Offer for one more year (till March 31, 2018) by paying a one-time fee of Rs 99 and Rs 303 per month.



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