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TRAI to Reject Operators’ Plea to Stop Reliance Jio’s Free Offers; Jio Does Not Violate Any Rules!

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Mobile Wireline call tariffs-001

Reliance Jio is a household name now and needs no introduction, but the company has been offering some crazy deals even after their Happy New Year offer’s retirement. The deadline for Prime subscriptions might also extend by a month or so, which means more free data for users.

Owing to the competition, Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular also dropped their tariffs to attract more customers and retain the existing ones. In fact, the threat of Jio led to all other telcos complaining to TRAI about the predatory pricing, which violated TRAI’s guidelines.

Now, to calm down Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular, TRAI plans to release a statement that their plea to stop Jio from offering free services is not justified, and Jio is not violating any rule. According to the telecom giants, voice calls cannot be priced at less than 14 paise per minute.

Further, TRAI claims that these most of the operators are offering their services at rates lower than 14 paise per minute, to which there hasn’t been any response or action.

A report by ET said, “A senior official at the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, who asked not to be identified, said the sectoral watchdog would respond this week to the Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal, likely reiterating that Reliance Jio Infocomm’s free offers didn’t violate any rules. It may also underline that the interconnect usage charge of 14 paise a minute can’t be taken as the retail floor price.”

The official further said that free night calling and regular call packs already violate the apparent rule, which shows hypocrisy on their end. The companies must mend their own tariffs before pointing fingers at others.

Reliance Jio offers free calls over LTE network, and from April 1 it will start charging only for data, while calls will always remain free. Moreover, TRAI had set an interconnect usage charge of 14 paise per minute, which is to be paid by the operator of the network.

Ganging up against Jio for no good reason?

We all know how exorbitantly Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular used to charge for internet packs and calling services. Reliance Jio, with its huge investment, suddenly entered the market with much lower rates and all the telcos got intimidated.

It was more like moving them from their comfort zone that they had enjoyed for too long. Jio offered back to back 90 days of free calls, messages and data to its users as a part of the Welcome offer and Happy New Year offer. It should be seen as a healthy competition, rather than pointing fingers at others without a basis.

The interconnect charge of 14 paise is counted as a profit for companies, and since Jio is pricing its calls at 0 paise, the telcos lose out on their customers and ultimately profits. However, once TRAI comes out with a detailed explanation on predatory pricing and interconnect charge, this debate will be put to rest.

Source: ET

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