Reliance Jio's extension of free data and voice plan was welcomed with open arms by its users but did not sit well with incumbent operators, especially India's largest mobile service provider Airtel. The telecom operator is now seeking TDSAT's (Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal) assistance to put an end to Jio's bounty.
On Friday, Airtel filed a 25-page petition before TDSAT, asking the judicial body to rule against Jio's continuation of free voice and data services beyond December 3. Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio recently announced the second round of its welcome offer, dubbed as Happy New Year offer, to give users free services till March 31, 2017, and not end the saga on December 31, 2016, as previously anticipated.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) gave a green signal to Jio's move, to which Airtel has accused the regulator of being a "mute spectator" and "sleeping trustee" to Jio's violations. When Jio announced the extension of its promotional offer, TRAI said that it would investigate into the matter, but never really came up with a conclusion.
In the fresh petition filed last week, TRAI said that it would need 10 more days to come up with a conclusion. But the TDSAT asked TRAI to revert with a decision on the next day and also directed Reliance Jio to file an impleading application, PTI reported.
"The TRAI further without affording any reasoning baldly, cryptically and in a non-transparent manner in violation of Section 11(4) of the TRAI Act concluded that the Tariff Plans offered by the said TSP are not non-compliant with IUC and are not predatory and discriminatory at present. The impugned decision of TRAI is thus bad in law and deserves to be quashed," the petition said.
The next date of hearing has been set on January 6.
Airtel claims that Jio's free services have a significant impact on its network and the telco has to bear asymmetric traffic due to the free calling services, a concern raised on several occasions but squashed by Jio saying the traffic pattern is completely in line with what is expected in a new network.