Reliance Jio commenced its commercial 4G service in India in September this year. As expected, the company offered ultra low-cost data plans and app bundles to popularize its 4G services. One of the top plans offered by the company was free voice calling from its network to other networks. So far, the company has seen an overwhelming response from customers, and has raced past 25 million users base. However, Reliance Jio faces several hurdles in its quest to acquire 100 million users. While the company is already grappling with the call drops issue, it had come under the scanner for offering free voice calls, which was criticized by rival operators for being predatory in nature . Reliance Jio can now breathe a sigh of relief as the government has granted a clean chit to the company over its free voice calls. Also Read - Jio maintains lead in 4G download speed, Vi in upload in May: TRAIAlso Read - Airtel launches new Rs 456 prepaid plan: Check data, validity, call and other benefits
“Since the guidelines/NIA for allocation or auction of spectrum do not prescribe the rates at which services are to be provided to customers, the question of violation of guidelines for spectrum allocation does not arise,” Economic Times quotes Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha as saying. The telecom ministry said that the current regime for tariffs was based on forbearance, which lets market players choose tariff plans and products for different services in regions they operate. “Tariffs can therefore be offered by service providers to counter the competitive tariffs of their competitors or any other prevailing market conditions,” the ministry added. Also Read - Jio Freedom Plans 2021: Jio launches 5 new prepaid plans with no daily data limit - check details
Earlier, incumbent operators like Bharti Airtel and Vodafone among others had reached out to the regulator stating Jio s free voice calls were predatory, discriminatory and non-compliant to the guidelines. The rival operators pointed out that operators need to pay 14p per minute for each outgoing call from their network to the receiving network and that Jio was breaching guidelines by offering calls for free.
Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal had said, “If a voice service is provided for free, it would be less than the interconnection usage charges of 14 paise a minute and fall foul of the Telecommunication Tariff Order of TRAI.”
Even the industry body COAI, which has been at loggerheads with Reliance Jio over a variety of issues, had said that the Mukesh Ambani-led operator was offering free voice calls at loss. … when you say that it has made voice calls free on an all data network how do you make a voice call? So, all you re saying is that you re selling a data plan, which is a bundled data plan and since VoLTE can work on that bundled plan you can call it free. But in the sense you re buying a data plan and you use some of it to make voice calls but it goes through the data stream or you use it for all data but either way you can call it free but when there is a voice component that has to be handed over to an incumbent operator that has to be terminated on a mobile number that will attract an interconnect. So, how can you then say that you will give it away free when you re incurring a cost of 14 paise, COAI Director General Rajan S Mathews had told BGR India. RELATED:Reliance Jio s free voice calls aren t actually free: COAI s Rajan S Mathews
TRAI however had ruled in favor Reliance Jio, stating its tariff plans “cannot be considered as Interconnect Usage Charge (IUC) non-complaint, predatory and discriminatory.” The regulator also rejected complaints against Jio s Welcome Offer under which had it been offering free data and bundled apps till December this year. The revised offer of free services by Reliance Jio has been limited to 90 days i.e. December 3, 2016 and therefore is consistent with the guidelines on promotional offers, read the TRAI order.
With Reliance Jio having received the green signal, it should now focus on improving its quality of services, which has seen a drastic drop in recent weeks. While its 4G speeds have been slowing down, users have continued to grapple with call drops. According to reports, the company has been restricting voice calls duration to 30 minutes. In simpler words, you cannot be on a call for more than 30 minutes on Jio s network. DON T MISS: Congratulations Jio for reaching 16 million users, now fix their problems first