The largest telecom company in India, Bharti Airtel, has challenged TRAI’s decision to allow Reliance Jio to continue its promotional offer beyond 3rd December. The company said in its petition that TRAI had become a mute spectator while Jio is breaking the law. Airtel has filed the dispute in front of Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT). Airtel has requested the tribunal to direct TRAI and make sure Jio does not provide any free voice and data plans beyond 3rd December.
In the petition, Airtel said that Jio has been offering free service since March 2016. It has cause a significant amount of loss to the company. Airtel said that this free offer is also affecting the network quality as well. All these reasons suggest that the Jio has been violating all the rules and regulations directed by TRAI for all other telecom companies. Still, TRAI has become just a mute spectator.
The next hearing is on 6th Jan 2017
When the petition was mentioned before the tribunal, the Jio counsel was also present. TDSAT ordered to make Jio a party in the case. TRAI has asked for 10 days to come up with a reply on the decision. The next date of hearing has been set on January 6th, 2017 that happens to be the next day of the 10 day period given to TRAI.
Airtel has said in its petition that TRAI has violated the section 11 (4) of the TRAI Act. The decision made by TRAI is unlawful and needed to be squashed with immediate effect. The petition falls under the TRAI Act which stops the regulatory from breaking its own laws and regulations.
Jio gave the reason
Jio, while extending the Welcome offer with a new name stated that the company has not been able to provide the level of services expected by the customers. It won’t be right to charge the customers until they remove all hurdles in the services. The reasoning sounds alright, but it is affecting other telecom companies to extend larger. They have to bring down the tariff plans resulting in losses.
The fight between Jio and other telecom companies is not new. They argued over one or the other reason since the launch of Jio services. In the long run, such disputes may harm the infrastructure, and it is not good from the consumer’s point of view.
This fight is not good for customers
Those consumers who have waited for long for the Jio SIM may not get the benefit in case the Tribunal gives the decision against Jio and TRAI. It is very important for TRAI to ensure that at least those who bought the SIM after 3rd December get the benefits of the offer in case the Tribunal cancels the free offer extension.
If tribunal decides to reverse TRAI’s decision, it will be a big blow for Reliance. The company is expecting to touch 100 million mark by the end of March 2017. In case they have to roll back the free offer, the number of new customers joining Jio network will decrease dramatically.