The Telecom Regulator TRAI has asked Reliance Jio to explain why did it extend its free voice and data plan and how it should not be seen as violation of existing telecom regulations which requires promotional offers to be limited up to 90 days. TRAI has sent this letter after Reliance Chairman Mukesh Ambani announced the Happy New Year Offer which will allow its customers to enjoy free data and voice calls till March 2017.
And he informed India about it days before the 90 day inaugural welcome plan which ended on December 3. In the letter dated December 20, the regulator which is still in the process to examine the new plan by the Reliance Jio has asked the Chairman why the offer of free calls and data under the promotional scheme should not be treated as predatory.
When contacted the RJIL did not offer any comments on this issue. Sources who has direct knowledge about it said that the regulator in its letter to the RJIL has cited that the consumer base of RJIL has grown up to 63 Million as on December 18. And will now become a significant market player in the field of broadband and telecom very shortly , at least by the end of December.
Another source informed that TRAI had held a meeting with the Jio where the telecom giant explained that the Happy New Year Offer is different than the Jio Welcome Offer (which started on September 5). As in the initial offer it has provided 4GB Free Data per day and in the Happy New Year Offer , 1GB is offered under the Fair Usage Policy.
And the interesting news which came out after the meeting is that in the Welcome Offer there was no option of payment or renewal after the 4GB per day limit was exhausted but in the New Offer , one can recharge to get the data along with promised speed.
Not only this , TRAI has also asked Jio to provide an estimated month wise statistics of number of subscribers that are to be expected to join Jio till March 31,2017. And for this Jio has been given 5 days to come up with clarifications on this issue.
So the free voice and data calls , unlimited video calls and other free Jio Apps are offered without a break under the various promotional offers by the RJIL. So the TRAI finds that except the change in the quantum of data being offered , the New Offer seems to be an extension of the old Welcome promotional offer which has already exceeded the given 90 days.