Thursday, April 6, 2017

Trai forces Reliance Jio to withdraw Summer Surprise offer

The telecom regulator ordered Reliance Jio Infocomm to withdraw its Summer Surprise plan that offered three months of free services to a user who paid an initial fee by April 15, dealing a setback to the newcomer's bid to rapidly add to its subscriber base. 

The move by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), which came after a meeting with Jio officials earlier on Thursday, will give relief to rivals such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular. They have been struggling under the onslaught of Jio's two successive free offers, and the development should help restore pricing rationality over the next few months, experts said. 

"Today, Trai has advised Jio to withdraw the three months complimentary benefits of Jio Summer Surprise," the company said in a release on Thursday. 

The Mukesh Ambani-owned telecom company added that it accepted the decision. From now on users will need to subscribe to its previously announced monthly paid plans, with voice remaining free for life. 

"Jio is in the process of fully complying with the regulator's advice, and will be withdrawing the three months complimentary benefits of Jio Summer Surprise as soon as operationally feasible, over the next few days," the company said. People familiar with the matter said the offer may be closed in the next 24-48 hours. 

Jio said all customers who have subscribed to the latest plan prior to its discontinuation will remain eligible for the offer. 

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