Vodafone complains to Trai about Reliance Jio's Summer Surprise offer

In another development in the ongoing fight between incumbent telecos and new entrant Reliance Jio, Vodafone today complained to Trai saying that Jio was still allowing customers to subscribe the 'Summer Surprise' offer despite Trai's advice to withdraw the scheme.

In another development in the ongoing fight between incumbent telecos and new entrant Reliance Jio, Vodafone today complained to Trai saying that Jio was still allowing customers to subscribe the 'Summer Surprise' offer despite Trai's advice to withdraw the scheme.

In a letter to Trai, Vodafone complained that Reliance Jio was still "luring customers" to subscribe the 'Summer Surprise' offer despite the regulator finding it in violation of norms.

"Reliance Jio is continuing with this offer held as not meeting regulatory norms, in the garb of configuration changes. For past three days, it has been promoting and luring customers to quickly recharge to avail the benefits of a non-compliant offer and also asking its retailers to communicate the same," Vodafone said in a letter to Trai.

Last Thursday, Reliance Jio said that its Summer Surprise offer would be withdrawn in the next few days after Trai 'advised' it to stop three months complimentary benefits under the new scheme.

While Jio said that it accepted Trai's decision and was in the process of fully complying with regulator's Trai's advice, the press release from the company did not answer when Jio would officially withdraw its Summer Surprise offer.

Jio said that its Summer Surprise offer would be withdrawn in the next few days. "Jio will be withdrawing the three months complimentary benefits of Jio Summer Surprise as soon as operationally feasible."

Under the Summer Surprise plan, Jio Prime members making their first recharge payment of Rs 303 or higher would have gotten complimentary free data services for three months until July.

Vodafone, in its to Trai, also alleged Reliance Jio had sent SMSes to consumers and retailers asking them to quickly recharge to avail the benefit of the scheme.

An SMS content reads that Jio has given time till April 10 to its customers for enrolling for the scheme.

"In our view, such promotion of the customers on an offer held as non-compliant, is a blatant violation and disregard of Trai's advisory. Such promotions to customers makes the regulatory advisory meaningless," the letter said.

Vodafone said that Reliance Jio's continuation of the scheme painted a wrong picture to customers of non-robust regulatory framework where non-complaint offers are allowed to be sold in the market.

"Considering above, we request for Trai's immediate intervention and issuance of suitable directions to Reliance Jio for withdrawing the said offer on immediate basis and notifying the consumers about withdrawal of said offer from the date of advisory received from Trai," the letter said.

Reliance Jio has meanwhile maintained that the Summer Surprise offer would be withdrawn as soon as it was "operationally feasible", as stated in its press release last week.

"All the customers who have subscribed to the 'Summer Surprise' prior to its discontinuation will remain eligible for the offer. We are pained to note such continued and deliberate attempts by competitors to create unnecessary confusion in the market," PTI d a Jio spokesperson as saying.

Vodafone, however, declined to comment on the letter it sent to the regulator.

Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal also met today Trai chairman R S Sharma and believed to have discussed a range of issues, including the Jio offer, according to sources.

With inputs from PTI