Last week it was reported that Reliance Jio will end its Welcome Offer on December 3 after a TRAI directive. And that is still happening. But there is also a chance that Reliance may figure out some way to extend the free offer, if that is what the situation demands. According to a new report, Reliance Jio has informed analysts that it may extend free data and voice calls services till March 2017.
“Mass scale free welcome offer could continue until March 2017 to attract subscriber growth towards the celebrated 100 million mark with RJio’s indicative data pricing at Rs130-140 per GB,” Motilal Oswal analysts said in a note.
According to TRAI, a telecom operator cannot offer a plan with free services for more than 90 days. However, analysts at Citi Research have been reportedly informed by Reliance Industries management that there were no restrictions on the number of promotional offers a company can launch.
Reliance Jio too has hinted that if the company can’t deliver the kind of service it promises to its customers it may be unfair on its part to charge the customer.
Reliance Jio’s head of strategy and planning, Anshuman Thakur, said at a press conference on Thursday, “We have told Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and government that customers have faced issues with regard to the quality of service due to the interconnection congestion and they have not been able to enjoy the services that they deserve and what we want to deliver to them. And till we are in a position where we can deliver the quality of service as desired by the Jio management, it will be unfair to charge the customer.”
Thakur also said that Jio does not require permission from TRAI to extend its free services beyond December.
Citi Research analysts have suggested that if the issue regarding interconnection point doesn’t improve, Reliance Jio may look at “innovative solutions” so customers don’t have to pay until the quality improves.
Considering the conflict between TRAI’s guidelines and Reliance Jio’s statement, it is very much likely that Jio may change the Welcome Offer’s name to something else and continue offering free data and calls to customers. While it may sound like a quick trick to bypass TRAI norms, it sure seems valid under TRAI’s guidelines since technically the company will not be offering the same promotional plan for more than 90 days.