NEW DELHI: The promotional offer by telecom firms such as Reliance Jio to offer free voice and data has not been responsible for the industry’s falling financial health, according to a draft note prepared by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) in response to the Telecom Commission’s letter last month. Reliance Jio offered free voice and data under two promotional offers – Jio
Welcome Offer and the Happy New Year offer.
Trai is of the view that the Telecom Commission’s contention that free promotional offers allowed by it are responsible for the industry’s falling financial health and lower licence fee payments to the government is incorrect.
Sources in Trai said that tariff and tariff orders are under the responsibility of the telecom regulator. Trai is responsible to protect consumers’ interest as it is to promote the sector. “The Trai Act is very clear and the mandate is also to take care of consumers and the development of market,” said a senior Trai official.
Trai is likely to send its response to the Telecom Commission by Wednesday. The regulator defends its decision to approve the free voice and data for a period offered by Reliance Jio. Sources in Trai confirmed that an opinion sought on the issue from the Attorney General had suggested that the regulator was within its right to allow promotional offer by telecom firms.
Last month, the then telecom secretary J S Deepak, who headed the Telecom Commission, had written to Trai chairman R S Sharma about the “serious impact” of promotional offers on the financial health of the sector and the capability of to meet their contractual commitments.