Telecom War: Airtel Attacks TRAI on Extending Reliance Jio's Promo Offer Until March 2017

Will Reliance Jio extend until March 2017?

    It is a stipulated regulation that a telecom operator will not be allowed to provide promotional offers beyond 90 days. Based on the same, India's largest telecom operator, Bharti Airtel challenges TRAI, calling the telecom regulator a "mute spectator" for allowing Reliance Jio to extend its offer beyond December 2016.

    Airtel Attacks TRAI on Extending Reliance Jio's Promo Offer

    Airtel on December 23 involved in a telecom dispute tribunal TDSAT against TRAI for allowing Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio to continue its free promotional offer beyond the stipulated 90 days. TRAI has been a "mute spectator" to violations, accused Bharti Airtel.

    Reports reveal that the telecom operator had put forward a 25-page petition before the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT), asking the quasi-judicial body to direct TRAI to ensure that Reliance Jio does not continue to provide its free voice and data plans beyond December 3 at any cost.

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    Adding on to the statement, the telecom giant alleged that violation of TRAI's tariff orders has been continuing since March 2016, causing "significant prejudice and day-to-day loss" to it and "affecting its network" as it has to bear asymmetric traffic due to free call offer by Reliance Jio. Along with this, Airtel also highlighted that TRAI, in its decision, dated October 20 "erroneously concluded" that since Jio's promotional offer of free services was only valid until December 3 and it is consistent with the "90 days" directions of TRAI.

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    In response, TDSAT directed TRAI to get back to them with their decision and directed Reliance Jio to file an impleadment application. Reports state that TRAI further without affording any reasoning baldly, cryptically and in a non-transparent manner, in violation of Section 11(4) of the TRAI Act, concluded that the Tariff Plans offered by the said TSP are not non-compliant with IUC and are not predatory and discriminatory at present. The impugned decision of TRAI is bad in terms of law and deserves to be quashed.

    The next date of hearing on the issue has been fixed for January 6, 2017.


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