TRAI Asks Reliance Jio To Explain How Its ‘Happy New Year’ Offer Doesn’t Violate The Norms


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Reliance Jio is in trouble again. Last week, Airtel approached TDSAT (Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal) against TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) for letting Reliance Jio to offer promotional scheme beyond the stipulated period of 90 days, which is against the norms.

Airtel also blamed TRAI to be a “mute spectator” to all this. Now that TRAI is done with its investigation, it is asking the same question to Jio.

“We’ve asked them how the plans are different. A letter to this effect was sent a week ago and a reply is expected any time,” said a senior official at TRAI.

Jio has been sent a letter seeking explanation for the same by TRAI on 20 December. Jio has also been asked to explain why its new promotional scheme, the ‘Happy New Year’ offer, should not be treated as “predatory”.

Jio’s History of Promotional Schemes

Upon its public launch on 5 September, Jio announced ‘Jio Welcome Offer’ under which it offered unlimited video and voice calls (even during roaming), unlimited texts, and unlimited 4G data having an FUP limit of 4 GB/day, and free access to premium content over Jio suite of apps.

This promotional offer was supposed to end on December 3, but it got extended till 31 December for the existing users. However, Jio announced another promotional scheme as ‘Happy New Year’ offer which would be valid from December 4 for new Jio users, and 1 January for existing users of ‘Welcome Offer’.

The ‘Happy New Year’ offer is essentially the same as ‘Welcome Offer’ with the key difference of lower daily data limit of 1 GB/day and the facility to let the users recharge with speed restoration packs.

A TRAI official said that the ‘Happy New Year’ appears to be an extension of the old promotional offer, prima facie. It offers the same benefits with a small change in the quantum of data offered.

However, according to TRAI sources, Jio mentioned that the new offer was different from the ‘Welcome Offer’ in terms of data usage and speed.

Jio has also been asked by the TRAI to submit its monthly projections of subscriber addition till 31 March 2017, as its subscriber base had reached 63 million by 18 December 2016.

It is abundantly clear to us that the ‘Happy New Year’ offer is nothing but the same old ‘Welcome Offer’ with revised daily data limit and recharge option. So don’t be surprised if TRAI asks Jio to withdraw its ‘Happy New Year’ offer in near future. However, we also expect Jio to offer some form of compensation to its existing users which may be in the form of data benefits, for withdrawing its promotional offer well before the set date.

Do you think Reliance Jio is eating the market share by bending the rules? Should it be dealt accordingly? Do let us know your thoughts by penning a comment.

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