The telecom disputes settlement appellate and Tribunal (TDSAT), the telecom tribunal on Thursday asked the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India to re-examine its nod to Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio’s free promotional services offer. On January 31, the TRAI held that Jio's free voice calling and data plan was not a violation of the regulatory guidelines.
The tribunal has also asked the regulator to inform it about the outcome and findings of the examination within two weeks. It had last week reserved on incumbent the order on a Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular’s interim appeal which sought a stay on Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio’s free promotional offer.
The regulator had earlier found that the 'Happy New Year Offer' launched by Jio on December 4, 2016, was different from its previous 'Jio Welcome Offer', thereby it could not be treated as an extension of the promotional offer as the benefits under both differed.
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.
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. These telecom operators had criticised the regulator for being a "mute spectator" to the alleged violations.
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.