Reliance Jio’s Summer Surprise offer will continue to bleed telecom industry: COAI
COAI said that while market’s move towards lower pricing is good for consumers, the larger question of whether such pricing confirms to tariff regulations is a matter that needs to be settled by the courts and the telecom tribunal.
“The industry will continue to bleed under this pricing, and there is the risk of cascading impact on the banks, government (accruals from licence fee and spectrum payments made by telcos), and equipment manufacturers,” COAI director general Rajan Mathews told PTI.
Mathews refused to comment specifically on the tariffs announced by Reliance Jio.
Billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio on March 31 announced it had notched an unprecedented 72 million paid subscribers, and extended by a fortnight its deadline for migrating other subscribers to its paid offer.
It has further sweetened the deal by announcing a ‘complimentary offer’ for three months to those who pay Rs 303 prior to April 15, thus offering data at rock-bottom prices.
Put simply, subscribers recharging prior to the said date using Jio’s Rs 303 plan (or any higher value plan) will get services for the initial three months on a ‘complimentary basis’, and paid tariff plan will kick-in only in July.
“The consumer will have the benefit of the plans but the larger question of whether it is right or wrong, that is, in compliance with regulations, will have to be decided by the courts,” Mathews said.
Jio launched the inaugural free voice and data plan in September last year, and in December extended the freebies till March 31, 2017, much to the ire of other operators who alleged that such freebies not only hit their profitability and disrupted the market but were also against the regulations.
Incidentally, the warring sides, Jio and incumbent operators are members of COAI.
Incumbent players such as Airtel and Idea Cellular have moved the telecom tribunal against regulator TRAI for letting the new operator continue the promotional offer beyond the stipulated 90 days. They have also questioned the free offers on the ground that it violates the floor of 14 paise per minute set in the form of call termination charges.