Breaking TDSAT directs Trai to act against Reliance Jio for violating tariff reporting rules

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Sai Jai

5 Jan 2015
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NEW DELHI: The telecom tribunal has directed the sector regulator to act against Reliance Jio for not adhering to the seven-day limit of reporting the Welcome Offer launched from September 5, 2016 which offered free voice, data and messages for three months, an order which could lead to a levy of a penalty of up to Rs 2 lakh on the new entrant.

In an order passed on Thursday, the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) however said Jio’s two successive initial plans - the Welcome Offer and the Happy New Year Offer – didn’t violate any rules around predatory pricing, among others, and dismissed the pleas filed by Bharti Airtel , Vodafone India and Idea Cellular. The tribunal also barred all carriers, including Jio, from offering ‘all services’ free, without the regulator’s prior written approval.
“We direct Trai to take appropriate action in accordance with provision in clause 7 of TTO 1999 (as amended) or non-compliance of the reporting requirement in respect of Welcome Offer,” Justice Shiva Kirti Singh, chairperson of the tribunal told the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai). An order to the effect was seen by ET.

As per the clause, if a telco fails to comply with the reporting requirement, it has to pay Rs 5,000 for every day of delay, up to a maximum of Rs 2 lakh.

In its order, the tribunal noted that start date of Welcome Offer as stated by Trai were September 1, 2016 but the documentation with the regulator showed the date to be of October 10, 2016. “There is no escaping the fact that RJIL (Jio) did not meet the reporting requirement in respect of Welcome Offer.”

The order comes on the back of Jio offering free voice, text and data services from September 5 till December 31, 2016, when it began commercial services, and then continued its free services under the Happy New Year Offer from December 4, 2016, till March 3, 2017, with the free benefits going up till March-end. India’s top three carriers - Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular – had red flagged the plans on the grounds that they were predatory and discriminatory, besides allegedly flouting rules that limit promotional offers to 90 days.

TDSAT directs Trai to act against Reliance Jio for violating tariff reporting rules - ET Telecom
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