Jio, Airtel Can Stop Offering Free, Unlimited 5G Data To Users: Find Out Why?


Radhika Kajarekar

Radhika Kajarekar

May 04, 2023


Jio and Airtel will probably stop offering unlimited 5G data in their tariff plans, as per TRAI’s directions. 

There has been a complaint of predatory pricing against both these telecom operators by Vodafone India.

Jio And Airtel To Stop Offering Unlimited 5G As Directed By TRAI

India’s telecom regulator, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), is said to be planning to instruct Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel to discontinue offering unlimited 5G data in their tariff plans. This action follows a complaint of predatory pricing made against the two operators by Vodafone Idea, which was examined by the regulator. 

Vodafone Idea accused the two telcos of having significant market power, alleging that their 5G tariffs are predatory since they offer services below cost. However, TRAI concluded that the tariffs are not predatory since they are not below cost. 

While offering 5G services at 4G rates cannot be termed predatory, providing unlimited data as part of any plan violates the fair usage policy (FUP) principle of tariff regulations. 

Jio And Airtel Will Reduce Speed To Lower Limits

TRAI believes that the two telcos should stop offering unlimited data. Vodafone Idea is the only telco that has not yet started 5G services, but it offers 5G Ready SIM cards, whereas Airtel and Jio offer 5G services on existing 4G packs.

According to sources quoted in the same report, if TRAI were to issue the directive, Jio and Airtel would still be able to offer data plans at 4G rates but would need to reduce the speed to lower limits once the data limit is reached before the new billing cycle starts. 

This principle of reducing speed when data is consumed before the new billing cycle is called the fair usage policy, which applies to 4G plans and should also apply to 5G tariffs. Under 4G plans, when subscribers exhaust their data limit before a new billing cycle, telecom service providers reduce the data speeds to 64 Kbps. 

Operators are required to publish this information with their tariff plans on their websites and send alerts to subscribers when data usage reaches 50%, 90%, and 100%.


Radhika Kajarekar
Radhika Kajarekar
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