Mar 16, 2017 04:15 PM IST | Source: CNBC-TV18

Telecom tribunal asks regulator to re-examine Jio's Happy New Year Offer

After Airtel, Vodafone and Idea accused Reliance Jio of predatory pricing, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India had in February given the new entrant's promotional offer a clean chit.

Ashmit Kumar

In the first judicial order in the predatory pricing case before Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT), the tribunal has asked the country's telecom regulator to re-examine new entrant Reliance Jio's Happy New Year Offer.

While TDSAT on Thursday refused to grant a stay on the offer, it asked TRAI to revisit its clean chit and look into four issues, namely tariff regulations, consent of consumers, reporting requirements, and the applicability of Telecom Consumers Protection Regulations (TCPR).

This effectively means that the Happy New Offer will continue unabated till its expiry date of March 31, 2017.

The tribunal was hearing a petition filed by industry leader Bharti Airtel and competitor Idea Cellular, which had raised objections to Jio's promotional offer launched in December, under which the new player had offered several free services including free voice calls and 1GB of free 4G data daily till March 31, 2017. This was an extension of Jio's Welcome Offer when it started services last September.

Bharti Airtel contended that the Happy New Year Offer was in violation of the rules that allow promotional offers only for 90 days. Fellow telecom player Vodafone had also urged the regulator to look into the validity of the offer.

On February 2, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said the offer was not discriminatory and did not breach any norms, following which Vodafone challenged the offer in the Delhi High Court .

TRAI has two weeks to report back to the tribunal.

Reliance Jio, which crossed 100 million subscribers in less than six months, last month announced tariff plans for its customers that will come into effect from April 1.

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(Disclosure: Reliance Industries, which owns Jio, also owns Network18 which publishes Moneycontrol.)
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