Reliance Jio Infocomm will curtail its offer of free voice and data services till December 3, instead of its previously announced date of December 31.
The company has also received a clean chit from the telecom regulator which has found its tariff plans including free voice and data offers permissible and complaint with rules.
According to a communication from the telecom regulator, Jio’s tariff plans cannot be considered as “non-IUC complaint, predatory or discriminatory at present”.
The communication which has been sent to the chiefs of Vodafone, AirtelBSE, Idea CellularBSE, Videocon Telecom and Telenor was in response to a Joint representation made by these telcos on September 20 and the consequent deliberations held on September 30 in which telcos are believed to have complained to the regulator that Jio’s offers were non-IUC omplaint.
Fearing the buzz and popularity created by Jio, other telecom operators had requested TRAI to look into its validity, accusing Reliance of predatory pricing — Jio services are free for now — and unfair competition. TRAI, however, has found that the Jio services and the company’s Welcome Plan are totally fair and legal. However, it does agree with the premise that the Welcome Offer cannot be extended beyond 90 days.
Incumbent telcos have maintained that by offering voice tariffs which are lesser that the cost incurred in completion of those calls clearly makes it a case of predatory pricing. These telecom operators have said that since Jio was not charging for voice calls, it was pricing the voice calls lesser that even the termination cost.
At present the termination charge has been fixed at 14 paisa. The termination charge is a cost paid to a telecom operator for completing a call originating outside its network.
The telcos had further contended that according to a telecom order of the TRAI itself, one of the purposes of maintaining a termination charge was to ensure a floor price for voice tariffs, which was being violated by Jio in offering free voice services.
The guidelines on promotional offer require all telecom operators to limit the promotional offers for a period of 90 days.
However, the telecom regulator has also said that while at present Jio’s offers were consistent with guidelines, it would continue to keep a close watch on tariffs offered by all telecom companies in the market, including Reliance Jio.