The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has asked for the attorney general’s views on billionaire Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio’s free voice and data offering till March that rivals have called “predatory”. Telecom regulator TRAI sought the top government legal advisor’s opinion on the tariff plans submitted by Jio, a top source said. This follows the regulator examining replies furnished by Jio to its letter seeking explanation after the company announced free data and voice calls for existing and new customers under its ‘Happy New Year offer’, days before the 90-day inaugural welcome plan ended on December 3. Also Read - Jio Freedom Plans 2021: Jio launches 5 new prepaid plans with no daily data limit - check detailsAlso Read - How to recharge your Jio number via WhatsApp
TRAI had last month asked Jio to explain why the free data offer under the promotional scheme should not be treated as predatory. In its letter, it had cited Jio’s consumer base growing to 63 million as of December 18 to state that the company will become a significant market player in the broadband space shortly, maybe by the end of December. Stating that the preliminary analysis relies on factors like average subscriber additions per day and free data being offered, TRAI is learnt to have asked Jio to clarify as to “why the offer of free data under the promotional offer should not be treated as predatory”.
In its response, Jio stated that the latest Happy New Year offer is substantially different from the Jio Welcome Offer – which commenced on September 5 – as in the initial offer, it had provided 4GB of free data per day, and in the new one, the same was capped at 1GB under Fair Usage Policy. Also, it contended that in the first, there was no option of renewal or payment after the 4GB limit was exhausted, but in the fresh offering, one can recharge both data and the promised speed. In terms of dominance, Reliance Jio accounts for a 6 percent market share in the country whereas norms by the Competition Commission of India (CCI), which is the fair trade regulator, specify 30 percent threshold to trigger misuse of the market dominance clause. ALSO READ: Reliance Jio s 4G feature phone could be a masterstroke, here s why
BONUS VIDEO: Jio Happy New Year Offer announced to extend free services till March 31, 2017