TRAI ‘recommends’ Rs 3150 crore fine against Airtel, Vodafone and Idea


Telecom regulatory body TRAI has recommended a fine of Rs 3150 crore be imposed on Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular ‘for not providing interconnect’ to Reliance Jio, reported Times of India.

This came after, in a boost to Reliance Jio, which is offering life-time free voice calling service, the TRAI held that tariff plans of the new player are compliant to existing rules and not discriminatory.

“… it is found that the tariff plans filed with Trai cannot be considered as IUC non-complaint, predatory and discriminatory, at present,” the Trai said in a letter to telecom operators.

Incumbent operators Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and others approached Trai against free call service being offered by Reliance Jio, calling the tariff plan predatory, discriminatory and non-compliant to present rules.

Telecom operators are required to pay 14 paise per minute for each outgoing call from their network to the operator on whose network the call finally lands.

Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest man, stormed his way into the telecom sector last month announcing a Jio Welcome Offer giving unlimited free calls to subscribers for lifetime.

Reacting to the Trai letter, Jio in a statement said, “This (Trai’s letter) clearly establishes the fact that all the tariffs offered by RJIL are in compliance with the prevailing regulations. A key feature of RJIL’s tariff packs is free voice calling for Local, STD and National roaming for all times.”

Besides this, it is offering unlimited free 4G mobile broadband till 31 December.

Rival telecom operators had also contested free data service offered by Jio beyond 90 days but same have been set aside by the regulator.

“The revised offer of free services by Reliance Jio has been limited to 90 days i.e. December 3, 2016 and therefore is consistent with the guidelines on promotional offers,” Trai said in an order.

Reliance Jio said that the free service, including unlimited mobile data, will be available for its subscribers till 31 December.

“As per RJIL’ s filing with the Trai, the Jio Welcome Offer will be available to all the customers for subscription till 3 December, 2016. RJIL wishes to reconfirm that JWO benefits of free unlimited voice and data will continue to be available to all subscribers till 31 December, 2016,” the company said.

Reliance Jio said that the consumers, who cannot subscribe to its services till December 3, 2016 will continue getting opportunities to avail new offers and tariff plans.

“RJIL aspires to provide the experience of Jio Digital life to all Indians and to achieve this it will continue coming up with more consumer friendly offers and plans to enhance the consumer experience,” the statement said.