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TRAI says Jio’s offers comply the rules

The leading telcos Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and others approached TRAI calling Jio’s tariff plan predatory, discriminatory and non-compliant to present rules.
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In a strategic boost of morale to Reliance Jio, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has held that tariff plans of the new player are compliant to existing rules and not discriminatory.

TRAI informed telecom operators in a letter, “…it is found that the tariff plans filed with TRAI cannot be considered as IUC non-complaint, predatory and discriminatory, at present,” media reported.

Reliance Jio was officially launched in September 2016, which offered free calling for lifetime along with free 4G data as a welcome offer to its customers. The offer stood valid till December 31, 2016. The long queues and attractive offers irked the competition, who in turn appealed to TRAI.

The leading telcos Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and others approached TRAI calling Jio’s tariff plan predatory, discriminatory and non-compliant to present rules, the reports said. It is to be noted that telecom operators are required to pay 14 paise per minute for each outgoing call from their network to the operator on whose network the call finally lands.

The letter from TRAI created an uproar of success for RJio, who in a statement said, “This (Trai’s letter) clearly establishes the fact that all the tariffs offered by RJIL are in compliance with the prevailing regulations. A key feature of RJIL’s tariff packs is free voice calling for Local, STD and National roaming for all times.”

TRAI noted that “The revised offer of free services by Jio has been limited to 90 days i.e. up to December 3, 2016, and, therefore, is consistent with the guidelines on promotional offers.”

The point of contradiction from Jio’s claims comes from a report in Times of India whose source in TRAI told that the tariff plan filed with the regulator does not make any mention of free voice calls for lifetime. In fact, Jio’s tariff plan mentions 2 paise per second charge for voice calls. “Thus we have no reason but to treat the free voice announcement as a promotional offer. This offer cannot run beyond 90 days,” it added.

Rival incumbent operators had also contested free 4G data service offered by Jio beyond 90 days, which has also been set aside by the regulator. However, RJio said “As per RJIL’ s filing with the TRAI, the Jio Welcome Offer will be available to all the customers for subscription till December 3, 2016. RJIL wishes to reconfirm that JWO benefits of free unlimited voice and data will continue to be available to all subscribers till December 31, 2016,” the media reported.

RJIL said that the consumers, who cannot subscribe to the RJIL services till December 3, 2016 will continue getting opportunities to avail new offers and tariff plans. “RJIL aspires to provide the experience of Jio Digital life to all Indians and to achieve this it will continue coming up with more consumer-friendly offers and plans to enhance the consumer experience,” the statement said.

TRA also clarified that “The tariff plans offered by Jio and the various submissions made thereafter have been examined and it is found that the plans filed with TRAI cannot be considered as interconnect usage charge non-compliant, predatory and discriminatory at present.”

Sources in Jio said that the company may file fresh tariff plans with TRAI to clear “confusion” regarding promotional offers, Times of India reported.

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