Telecom Tribunal Asks TRAI To Re-examine Free Reliance Jio Offers

Industry revenue is expected to fall by 5-10 percent in financial year 2017-18.

The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) on Thursday asked the sector regulator to re-examine Reliance Infocomm Jio Ltd’s promotional free services offer and inform the tribunal about the outcome in two weeks.

Incumbent mobile carriers, Bharti Airtel Ltd and Idea Cellular Ltd, had challenged the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI’s) decision to allow Reliance Jio to continue its Happy New Year offer beyond the stipulated 90 days.

Also Read: Airtel Questions TRAI’s Green Signal to Jio’s Happy New Year Offer

The telecom tribunal had reserved its order in the previous hearing on 9 March after hearing Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and TRAI’s arguments.

Billionaire Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio started operations in early September last year, giving free voice call and data first for three months and then extending for another three months, till 31 March 2017.

Also Read: Reliance Jio to TRAI: Happy New Year Offer Doesn’t Violate Rules

Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular moved TDSAT this year, questioning the telecom regulator’s clean chit to Reliance Jio's “predatory” pricing.

TRAI then sought Attorney General Mukesh Rohatgi’s views on the matter, who said that Reliance Jio's tariff plans do not violate any existing regulation or order issued by the regulator and, therefore, it should not intervene in the matter. This was communicated to the two companies by the telecom regulator.

On 23 February, the telecom tribunal had asked the regulator to submit all documents pertaining to Reliance Jio's free offers and specify whether the tariffs were a regular plan, base plan or a special tariff voucher.

(Read the full story on BloombergQuint)