Reliance Jio in hot waters for its unlimited data and voice plans?
Reliance Jio in hot waters for its unlimited data and voice plans?Reuters

Reliance Jio is engaged in a fierce battle with the incumbent telecom operators over points of interconnection (POIs), number portability and quality of service (QoS). The new telco disrupted the industry with its fierce tariffs, which include free voice calls for life. But the move did not sit well with Airtel, Vodafone, Idea and Telenor, so they raised a request with Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) for a formal investigation against Jio's offerings.

All incumbent telcos submitted a common letter to TRAI on Friday raising concerns over Jio's offerings for violating TRAI's rules. The offerings in question include Jio's unlimited offers for data and calls till December 31, which exceed a 90-day limit for promotional plans; free calls for life; interconnection usage charges (IUC); predatory and non-discriminatory pricing among other issues.

As per the TTO (Telecommunication Tariff Order) of 2004, tariffs imposed by telecom operators must compliant with IUC, which is a fee (14 p/min) payable to an operator for receiving calls from another network. According to Airtel chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal, offering voice service for free would be less than IUC charge, in turn a violation of Telecommunication Tariff Order of TRAI.

Another highlighted point was Jio's promotional offer, which exceeds the 90-day limit even if the start date is considered as September 5. In Jio's defence, the new telco considers these offerings as a "special benefit" to consumers rather than a "promotional offer" to be considered as a violation of TRAI's regulations.

TRAI chairman RS Sharma said the concerns raised by the telecom majors would be examined after looking into Jio's tariffs and revert with its views in a week or 10 days' time, the Economic Times reported.

Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL), a subsidiary of Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), has constantly raised concerns regarding the lack of POIs by the existing operators. TRAI had also issued show cause notices to telcos after discovering a high call failure rate on Jio's network between September 15 and 19. The rival operators have accused Jio of unleashing a "tsunami" of free traffic on their networks.

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