Bharti Airtel moves TDSAT on Reliance Jio delay in withdrawing 'Summer' offer

The interim application by Airtel pertains to the Summer Surprise offer of Reliance Jio under which it was giving free data and voice under Rs 303 plan. Airtel has also objected to the continuation of scheme's benefits for those who had already subscribed to the said offer before it was withdrawn.

Country's largest telco Bharti Airtel has filed an application in telecom tribunal TDSAT objecting to the alleged delays by Reliance Jio while withdrawing its 3-month complimentary offer as was directed by Trai.

The interim application by Airtel pertains to the Summer Surprise offer of Reliance Jio under which it was giving free data and voice under Rs 303 plan. Airtel has also objected to the continuation of scheme's benefits for those who had already subscribed to the said offer before it was withdrawn.

When contacted, Bharti Airtel declined to comment. The matter was heard briefly today in the Telecom Dispute Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT). The next hearing will be on April 20, along with a main petition, in which Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular have challenged a Trai order that allowed free 4G service offers of Jio beyond the stipulated 90 days.

On April 6, Trai had asked Jio to withdraw its contentious 3-month 'complimentary' offer of unlimited data usage and free calls on payment of a minimum Rs 303, saying it was not in accordance with the regulatory framework.

Trai had said that Reliance Jio will be required to roll back the 3-month complimentary offer in "shortest possible time" but clarified that customers who had already subscribed to the said scheme could avail the benefits till June-end.

Soon after, telecom operator Vodafone approached Trai alleging that Jio was inviting last minute subscriptions to its 'Summer Surprise' offer despite the regulator finding it in violation of norms.

Jio, on April 11, unveiled a new plan of 1GB 4G data daily for 3 months at Rs 309 for its Prime members, but Airtel had dubbed it as being a case of "old wine in a new bottle". The same day, Jio said it has "fully withdrawn" the Summer Surprise offer following the advice of the telecom regulator.