Telecom tribunal reserves order on Airtel & Idea’s appeal for stay on Reliance Jio’s free promo offer

The telecom disputes settlement appellate and tribunal (TDSAT), the telecom tribunal on Thursday reserved its order on incumbent telcos Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular’s interim appeal which sought a stay on Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio’s free promotional offer, various media reports said.

Reliance-Jio-tribunal

The tribunal reportedly reserved its order after hearing stances of top telcos, Reliance Jio and the regulator TRAI. Bharti Airtel, in its appeal, had sought a stay on TRAI’s approval to Reliance Jio to continue with the free promotional offer. It had also alleged that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) is “perpetuating illegality” by allowing the 4G entrant to game the interconnect regime by allowing Jio to offer free voice and data services.

India’s third largest telco Idea Cellular had subsequently moved to the telecom dispute tribunal. Both the telcos had also sought a direction to the TRAI to produce all records related to its decision.

Reliance Jio commercially launched services on September 5 last year with the launch of inaugural free voice and data services, which it extended in December till March 31, 2017. Jio, however, maintained that it had not violated any tariff orders in offering these two promotional offers to its subscribers.

The regulator had on January 31, 2017, said that Jio’s free voice calling and data plan were not the violation of the regulatory guidelines on promotional offers. It added that its examination found that the 4G entrant’s ‘Happy New Year Offer‘ launched December 4, 2016, is different from the Welcome Offer, thereby it could not be treated as an extension of the promotional offer as the benefits under both differed.

Jio, however, will start charging its customers for its mobile services from April 1, 2017. The telco had also launched 10 Prime packs of users that join the network before March 31, 2017, and had also launched a buy one get one free offer for Jio Prime users. As part of the offer, those recharging with Rs 303, Rs 499 and above before March 31 will get additional benefits.

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