Trai orders Reliance Jio to withdraw 15-day extension on Jio Prime plan

Earlier, the telecom tribunal had asked regulator Trai to "re-examine" issues relating to the approval granted to Reliance Jio to continue with its free offers.

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on Thursday ordered Reliance Jio to withdraw 15-day extension on Jio Prime plan. The Plan was supposed to end on March 31, however, Reliance Industries chief Mukesh Ambani extended the deadline for purchasing Jio's Rs 303 (and other) plans till April 15.

Making the announcement, Mukesh Ambani said: "Every Jio Prime member - when they make their first paid recharge prior to 15th April using Jio's Rs 303 plan (or any higher value plan) - will get services for the initial 3 months on a complimentary basis."

Immediately after the order, Reliance Jio issued a press statement saying, "Jio is in the process of fully complying with the regulator's advice, and will be withdrawing the 3 months complimentary benefits of JIO SUMMER SURPRISE as soon as operationally feasible, over the next few days."

However, all customers who have subscribed to JIO SUMMER SURPRISE offer prior to its discontinuation will remain eligible for the offer, it added.

Earlier, the telecom tribunal had asked regulator Trai to "re-examine" issues relating to the approval granted to Reliance Jio to continue with its free offers.

TDSAT had acted on an interim appeal seeking a stay on Reliance Jio's free offer after hearing all the parties concerned, including Trai, incumbent operators Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular, and newcomer Jio.

In its interim appeal, Airtel had sought a stay on Trai's approval to Jio to continue with the free services. It had also sought a direction to the regulator to produce all the records related to its decision.

The appeal also sought to restrain Jio from providing its consumers the zero tariff plan and promotional plans.

Jio had launched the inaugural free voice and data plan in September last year, and in December, extended the freebies till March 31, 2017.

Following this, the existing players such as Airtel and Idea moved the telecom tribunal against Trai for letting the new operator continue the free promotional offer beyond the stipulated 90 days.
The operators criticised the regulator for being a "mute spectator" to the alleged violations. On January 31, Trai had held that Jio's free voice calling and data plan were not violation of the regulatory guidelines.

Trai had further said its examination had revealed that the 'Happy New Year Offer' launched by Jio on December 4, 2016, is distinct from its earlier Jio Welcome Offer and could not be treated as an extension of the promotional offer as the benefits under both differed.