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Vodafone takes TRAI and Jio to High Court over free offers

In a move that could derail Jio’s freebie juggernaut, India’s second largest telecom company Vodafone has moved the Delhi High Court, alleging that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has failed in its duty to check blatant violations of tariff orders, directions, and regulations. Vodafone has claimed that such violations have been carried out by Jio, but TRAI had not done anything to stop them.


Vodafone pointed out to the telecom department’s (DoT) circulars, wherein it’s clearly stated that all tariffs must be compliant with inter-connection usage charges (IUC) and should be non-discriminatory and non-predatory. Vodafone said that TRAI should not have allowed Jio to extend its free offers, as the telecom authority itself had told all telecom operators in 2002 that promotional tariffs cannot exceed the 90 days upper limit.

“That the free i.e. zero tariff plan/promotional offer of said operator (RJio) with no charges at all for services is ipso facto noncompliant with the ‘floor’ as stipulated by TRAI in its own tariff orders, is IUC non-compliant, predatory and discriminatory and thus violates the TRAI’s tariff orders and regulations. The free offerings were illegal and also violates the 90-day upper limit fixed for any promotional offer (with) 90 days expiring on 18 September, 2016 (even if counted from 21 June, 2016) and in any event on 3 December, 2016.” the petition said.

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