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[Representational Image] TRAI slaps notice to Reliance Jio, might scrap ‘predatory’ Happy New Year offer. In Picture: Reliance Jio sells LYF smartphones on its siteReuters file

After Airtel shot a letter to TRAI (Telecom Authority of India) questioning the appellate body's silence over Reliance Jio's Happy New Year offer, TRAI has questioned the Mukesh Ambani-owned telecom firm on why it extended its free data offer.

Reliance Jio's Free Welcome Offer, which was launched on September 5, was supposed to end on December 3, but in a surprising move Ambani, on December 1, announced a new plan -- Happy New Year -- which provides existing and new subscribers free internet till March 31, 2017, thereby circumventing the stipulated 90 days rule.

Though the announcement was welcomed by the consumers, it did not go down well with incumbent players especially Airtel. The Sunil Bharti Mittal-owned company moved Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) against TRAI for its lackadaisical approach.

It has now come to light that TRAI has asked Reliance Jio to clarify as to "why the offer of free data under the promotional offer should not be treated as predatory."

As per the preliminary report, TRAI has found 'prima facie' evidence that Reliance Jio's Happy New Year offer is almost same as the old Welcome offer with minor changes.

[Note: As per new Happy New Year offer, new and old customers will be able to avail high-speed internet up to 1GB data consumption, after which speed will be reduced to 128kbps and also if customers want more data per day, they have to buy recharge vouchers; previous Welcome offer had unlimited internet usage]

Also read: Reliance Jio Happy New Year offer effect: Airtel launches new internet packs with free voice-calls

Having said that, Reliance Jio, which has a little over 63 million subscriber base (as of December 18), amounts to around 6 percent of the market share and it might escape the telecom body's wrath.

As per the Competition Commission of India (CCI) norms, 30 percent threshold is required to trigger the "misuse of market dominance" clause on telecom company.

TRAI, facing heat from incumbent players, has asked Reliance Jio to provide month-wise projection of subscriber count till March 2017, PTI sources said.

Also read: Reliance Jio Happy New Year offer effect: 2016 Lenovo K series phones get VoLTE support [list of devices eligible for unlimited internet]

Reliance Jio has now requested TRAI to grant six days for clarification on all the issues raised.

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