Jio sought penalty on Airtel for violating the regulator’s direction on transparency in rates
Reliance Jio has approached the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), seeking its intervention in imposing penalty on Bharti Airtel for the telco’s “misleading advertisements” on unlimited free calls.
In a letter to Trai, Reliance Jio sought penalty on Bharti Airtel for violating the regulator’s direction on transparency in rates. The advertisements issued by Airtel for both pre-paid and post-paid rate packs were in gross violation of telecommunication laws, the new operator Jio said.
On January 3, Airtel announced a scheme under which it would offer 12-month free data to those switching to its 4G service. The existing Airtel consumers, too, can avail the offer with new 4G handsets. The offer is scheduled to close on February 28.
Airtel’s offer was seen countering free data by Jio. Airtel’s December quarter results had shown more than a 50 per cent dip in profit, primarily due to heavy price-cutting in the industry. Airtel chief executive Gopal Vittal blamed poor earnings on “predatory pricing” by rivals and “tsunami of free minutes”.
In December, Reliance Jio announced its Happy New Year scheme, offering every new Jio user data, voice, video, and a full bouquet of applications and content free, till March 31, 2017.
In its complaint to the telecom regulator, Reliance Jio said that Airtel implemented a Fair Usage Policy of 300 minutes/day or 1,200 minutes/week, whichever is earlier, after which all calls will be chargeable at 30 paise per minute.
The information on fair usage policy is provided only by Airtel call centres and Reliance Jio claimed that the call centre agents were ‘’extremely guarded’’ in sharing such information.
It added that Airtel was violating Trai’s instructions on the use of term ‘unlimited’ in situations where the feature of a plan/scheme/package put restrictions on the quantum of benefits in any manner.
RJio requested TRAI to take strongest action under the Act and impose highest penalty on Airtel.
Source: Business Standard