No one can deny the fact that the arrival of Reliance Jio two years ago has massively changed the landscape of the Indian telecom sector. The ultra-affordable data-voice combo plans offered by Jio completely took rivals by surprise, kick-starting a tariff war that’s getting fiercer every day.
Most of the Indian telcos have seen massive drops in their revenues as a direct consequence of Jio’s affordable offerings. Last year, Airtel, Vodafone, and Idea had blamed Jio for their dipping revenues, accusing the latter of ‘predatory pricing’. The latest to do so, is state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited.
Putting the blame squarely on Jio for the telecom sector’s financial problems, employee unions of BSNL recently alleged that the Indian government was favoring the Mukesh Ambani-led telco over them (and other players). In fact, to protest the same, the unions have threatened to go on an indefinite strike from Monday (December 3).
The employee unions claimed that the government hasn’t (yet) allotted 4G spectrum to BSNL to prevent it from competing with Jio.
“As of now, the whole telecom industry is gripped with a crisis… All these have happened due to the predatory pricing of the Mukesh Ambani owned Reliance Jio. The whole game plan of Reliance Jio is to wipe out its competitors, which includes the state owned BSNL,” unions of the state-run telco were quoted as saying in a report by The Wire.
All Unions and Associations of BSNL (AUAB) said that Reliance Jio is offering services at ‘below-cost’ rates due to its strong financial backing. It even said that because of Jio, many rivals like Aircel and Telenor have already been forced to shut shop.
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“It will loot the people by steeply raising the call and data charges. It is a matter of deep concern that, Reliance Jio is being openly patronized by the Narendra Modi government,” the statement by AUAB said.
If BSNL employees around the country do go on strike from tomorrow (December 3), it’s surely going to be a hassle for the millions of customers that rely on the state-owned telco’s services.