Reliance Jio brings in new offer for Prime members; Airtel sees red
Barely a week after the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) asked Reliance Jio to withdraw its complimentary offer, the telecom operator on Tuesday announced a new plan of 1 GB 4G data for three months at Rs 309 for its Prime members.
Rival Airtel, however, dubbed it as a case of “old wine in a new bottle."
Announcing its new offer, Jio said under the Rs 309 plan, it would provide “unlimited SMS, calling and data (1GB per day at 4G speed) for three months on the first recharge". For Rs 509, the company is offering unlimited SMS, calling and double the data (2GB per day) for three months on the first recharge.
“Considering the special benefits that are available to Jio Prime members, customers who were unable to subscribe to Jio Prime for any reason can continue to do so by paying Rs 408 or Rs 608 (Jio Prime and recharge price) to avail these benefits," said Jio in a statement.
The benefits of the plan would be available right away. Jio customers who have not got their first recharge, need to do so by 15 April.
Objecting to the offer, incumbent Bharti Airtel hoped that the “authority (Trai) will act against this provocative disregard of their direction".
“We are surprised to see what Jio is doing. It violates the spirit of the Trai directive and essentially continues with a similar plan now masquerading under a different name. This is a classic example of old wine in a new bottle," an Airtel spokesperson said.
Stating that the industry was in a “very weak" position and “continues to bleed", Airtel said the financial impact that telcos are seeing does no good to customers, in the long term.
“With a weakened financial position, companies will find it difficult to raise the capital to invest and roll out broadband networks," Airtel cautioned.
On April 6, Trai had asked Jio to stop the “complimentary" service offer, saying it was not in accordance with the regulatory framework. Trai had said Jio would be required to roll back the three-month complimentary offer in the “shortest possible time", but clarified that customers who had already subscribed to the scheme could avail the benefits till June-end.
Earlier this week, telecom operator Vodafone approached Trai, alleging that Jio was inviting last-minute subscriptions to its Summer Surprise offer, despite the regulator finding it in violation of norms.
Jio had, however, countered the charges saying the company had made it amply clear that the complimentary offer would be withdrawn as soon as operationally feasible, and that customers who subscribed prior to discontinuation of the offer, remained eligible.
In a statement on Tuesday, Jio said it had fully withdrawn the offer.
The Cellular Operators Association of India Director General Rajan Mathews said, “Trai is the competent authority to determine whether it (the offer unveiled by Jio) is continuation of the old tariff, a new offer or whether it complies with the regulations."