1. Reliance Jio now dragged to CCI by Bharti Airtel over predatory pricing

Reliance Jio now dragged to CCI by Bharti Airtel over predatory pricing

Bharti Airtel has approached the Competition Commission of India (CCI) accusing the Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJIL) of predatory pricing and indulging in an anti-competitive behaviour, reports Rishi Ranjan Kala in New Delhi.

New Delhi | Updated: February 7, 2017 12:54 PM
Bharti has said Jio will continue to provide free voice calls, which is again predatory in nature with the objective of injuring rival telecom operators and creating a monopoly. Bharti has said Jio will continue to provide free voice calls, which is again predatory in nature with the objective of injuring rival telecom operators and creating a monopoly.

Bharti Airtel has approached the Competition Commission of India (CCI) accusing the Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJIL) of predatory pricing and indulging in an anti-competitive behaviour, reports Rishi Ranjan Kala in New Delhi.

The move comes around two months after Jio Infocomm moved CCI accusing the three incumbent operators (Vodafone, Idea and Bharti) alleging that they are abusing their dominant market power and formed a cartel of sorts and denying it the requisite number of points of interconnect, which is inconveniencing its customers.

While the CCI’s stance on the Bharti’s complaint is still not known as it was filed only on February 2, with regard to Jio’s complaint which was filed in November 2016, the CCI has asked its director-general (investigation) to investigate the matter and see if there’s any merit in the case.

However, the development underlines the growing confrontation between the incumbent operators and Jio with both sides accusing each other of indulging in anti-competitive practices.

For instance, Bharti and Idea Cellular are already in the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal alleging that sector regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has been a mute spectator to violations of laid down regulatory norms by Jio. The next date for hearing on the matter is February 6.

In its complaint against Jio in CCI, Bharti has said the company through Reliance Industries (RIL) has created a pan-India telecom network and distribution infrastructure even before its commercial launch and is now providing free voice and data services.

“No other telecommunication operator in the Indian market (or even across the world) is offering services free of cost or any free unlimited voice calling on the network of other operators, offering free voice calls cannot be said to meet the competition and fall under the exception. The same is predatory,” Bharti has said.

Besides, Jio being a part of RIL — the largest enterprise in India in terms of size, revenues, assets and value — has spent over $2 billion in creating pan-India network infrastructure since 2010 without launching commercial services and with no earnings as well as return on investment from its telecom business, it added.

Accusing Jio of abuse of dominant position, Bharti said the new operator has been offering free services since December 2015, when it was testing its networks and had gained around 5 million customers.

Post the announcement of its commercial launch, under the garb of its Welcome Offer and Happy New Year Offer, Jio is providing free service “with probability of further extension”, operating independent of market forces and is abusing its dominance as an enterprise, Bharti has claimed.

Responding to Bharti’s move, a Reliance Jio spokesperson said: “This latest salvo by Airtel is a clear ploy to divert attention from its own violation of licensing conditions by having denied adequate POIs to Jio and the already announced censure proceedings by the TRAI against them.”

Airtel is also acting against consumer interest by stridently opposing the ‘free voice’ benefit that Jio has been able to provide customers due to its superior next generation IP based technology, he added.
“All tariff plans of Jio have been found to be non-predatory by the regulator, so the question of our offerings being predatory does not arise,” the spokesperson said.

India’s telecom sector has tended to progress due to disruptive innovation brought in by a new comer, but unfortunately, the incumbents led by Airtel have always tried to block such initiatives, the Reliance Jio spokesperson added.

Bharti has also said that Jio will continue to provide free voice calls, which is again predatory in nature with the objective of injuring rival telecom operators and creating a monopoly. Its tactic is bearing fruits as the free pricing has adversely impacted the performance of the telcos in the October-December 2016 quarter.

It  has said the strategy behind providing free services is to attract customers, minimise competition, eliminating smaller operators as well as to gain a higher market share. Once it controls a higher market share, RJIL is “likely to increase costs or even charge for voice calls since the competition will be limited and the customer will be left with lesser number of service providers to choose from”.

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Responding to Bharti’s move, a Reliance Jio spokesperson said: “This latest salvo by Airtel is a clear ploy to divert attention from its own violation of licensing conditions by having denied adequate POIs to Jio and the already announced censure proceedings by the TRAI against them.”

Airtel is also acting against consumer interest by stridently opposing the ‘free voice’ benefit that Jio has been able to provide customers due to its superior next generation IP based technology, he added.

“All tariff plans of Jio have been found to be non-predatory by the regulator, so the question of our offerings being predatory does not arise,” the spokesperson said.

India’s telecom sector has tended to progress due to disruptive innovation brought in by a new comer, but unfortunately, the incumbents led by Airtel have always tried to block such initiatives.

By Rishi Ranjan Kala

  1. K
    Karthik
    Feb 6, 2017 at 2:36 am
    I support Jio, I agree with Mukesh Ambani's complaint on reducing prices, why we have to pay around Rs. 300.00 for 1 GB of data. It's too much, idea, Vodafone and Airtel are looting its customers. No matter why Reliance started Jio, I support Reliance in this case.
    Reply
    1. K
      Karena kapur
      Feb 6, 2017 at 1:43 pm
      Jio sahi hai boss airtel hi jaleous of it... But hope so jio Will not cheat us
      Reply
      1. A
        Ashim
        Feb 6, 2017 at 12:05 pm
        Well compete with Jio .
        Reply
        1. A
          Antonydinesh
          Feb 6, 2017 at 7:48 am
          Jio serves now and jio has a stomach too.For now jio is starved in future it will consupt only half of his stomach .Jio definitely will never slice our throat.its their business tactics .. they help us so we should be ready in return .. it will be cheaper return bro..
          Reply
          1. A
            Antonydinesh
            Feb 6, 2017 at 7:42 am
            Thanks jio .... None will be supported from their family for data pocket money . But u jio adopted many of us and provided data'calls etc for free of cost.. So we are your family and in future we will support u for the cost of data what u say. Doesn't matter how much it is,will never let u down for sure... we will be connected with u forever.. Already I'm your family and using your dth for years .. Heartly Thanks to u .. god bless our family
            Reply
            1. D
              Dattatraya Mali
              Feb 6, 2017 at 4:29 pm
              AirTel Since Many years cheating to Customers. So they lost Trust from Customers. It's time to go out of TeLecom market to AirTel. Because AirTel can't connect customers again or I can say Customer will not approach to AirTel due to their bad cheating/looting record. AirTel is found me very arrogant. AirTel don't care of Customer to keep retained.
              Reply
              1. D
                d b
                Feb 8, 2017 at 5:41 pm
                No Airtel cheat us by making 1 rupee in 1 secondo m having both accounts I was also badly welcome by Airtel customer careJio has customised by welcoming customers by giving right answer to people I today approach Jio customer care I got cool and friendly nature
                Reply
                1. D
                  Devender Kumar
                  Feb 6, 2017 at 8:31 am
                  For Public Welfare's and facilitate, Anything can done by Govt. or company.Firstly call rate is 10-50Rs.per call. But why not today that rate.If anyone can't make business, go home.
                  Reply
                  1. P
                    Postpaid user
                    Feb 6, 2017 at 3:16 am
                    I have been a customer of airtel for atleast 6-7 years. As a postpaid user, i can say airtel is looting its customers. My bill plan is 999 and the bill i get is around 2400-2700. Airtel!, its time for u to go home. If Airtel cant stand in the race, Y blame and complain about other operators. 256 -300 per GB, Seriously ?. Now i am using Jio for all the data transactions, I switched to 299 plan from 999 plan in airtel. Airtel is still in market only becoz of its bandwidth. Else it would have gone away some time in the past.
                    Reply
                    1. S
                      Srinivas Karanam
                      Feb 6, 2017 at 8:14 am
                      whether Jio will increase the price in future or not is not relevant now.First its killing all operators who are behaving like leeches on customers money. I strongly support Jio. Airtel is Fraud. I recharged for incoming free on roaming but sill it charges money.
                      Reply
                      1. M
                        Maheswaran
                        Feb 6, 2017 at 3:50 am
                        I was a similar patron and I switched over to BSNL due to poor signal strength.
                        Reply
                        1. M
                          Mahesh
                          Feb 6, 2017 at 4:26 am
                          Airtel is looting customers and don't know how to sustain in market and using cheap logic by complaining against Jio, what a shame!!!
                          Reply
                          1. M
                            manish
                            Feb 6, 2017 at 5:04 am
                            May be lowering price is good. But what jio is doing is same as Walmart doing. First give all things free , capture market and whne no comptetion left then increase prices. No one in buisness is there to suffer losses. At some point Jio will start taking money beack from its customer in some way . Compeion is good for customer. These Free thing will be loss for long run.
                            Reply
                            1. M
                              manish
                              Feb 6, 2017 at 5:04 am
                              May be lowering price is good. But what jio is doing is same as Walmart doing. First give all things free , capture market and whne no comptetion left then increase prices. No one in buisness is there to suffer losses. At some point Jio will start taking money beack from its customer in some way . Comptetion is good for customer.
                              Reply
                              1. M
                                Muralidhara H
                                Feb 6, 2017 at 4:25 am
                                Reliance Jio thinks 'Customer is the King'! Even if Reliance incur loses due to this free voice calls till this year end, it will off set with profits from other ventures. Best of luck to Reliance which created a stiff compeion. Let other Companies talk about mergers to give compeion on to Reliance.
                                Reply
                                1. N
                                  Nagarjun
                                  Feb 7, 2017 at 1:37 pm
                                  Airtel is accusing jio for giving free Services. so it doesnt want the people of india to be happy.i am a jio customer and i want to give a suggestion to jio team that to make the call and data charges as low as possible by which the remaining customers will also shift towards jio which will be hard lessen to airtel.
                                  Reply
                                  1. J
                                    jefferson antonio
                                    Feb 6, 2017 at 3:33 am
                                    No point in crying wolf.get new udea to get customer til then Jio jio.free speaks loudest
                                    Reply
                                    1. P
                                      PURUSHOTTAM
                                      Feb 6, 2017 at 5:37 am
                                      AIRTEL fraud h koi mat sunoo iski apna network sahi se de nhi sakta dusra koi bhala kre toh dekha nhi ja rha AIRTEL se
                                      Reply
                                      1. P
                                        Priyank
                                        Feb 6, 2017 at 6:11 pm
                                        V can't say abt looting since Airtel was leader in telecom industry. Jio is next-generation industry. Nowadays Airtel is doing like this if your imei no is registered with jio they are blocking out going calls when we use Airtel in same mobile but they give service of incoming calls and data
                                        Reply
                                        1. S
                                          Sanjay
                                          Feb 7, 2017 at 9:29 am
                                          Airtel is very expensive and they should have already made enough money for the next 10 years. I call Kenya sometimes and it costs Rs 12.00 per minute. Can you imagine when someone from Kenya calls me in India, it costs them only Kshs 4.00 per minute [ Rs 2.60].This means AIRTEL India is overcharging x 5 times !!!Even their home broadband is slow [ 5- 6 MBPS] but yet expensive.I am already planning to change.
                                          Reply
                                          1. S
                                            Shahadat Ahmed
                                            Feb 6, 2017 at 5:20 am
                                            I support Jio. Airtel looted me and is still looting. Last month I got a bill of 1800 Rs, when I was on roaming. When I confronted them for their mistake, they reduced my bill to 1300 Rs. If I didn't check the bill carefully, my 500 would have been lost easily. Now I doubt their every bill from last six years. Also when I asked for a 3 GB package they immediately activated it but when I told them to remove the package, they are not ready to remove it with immediate effect . This wrongful tactic of earning does not stand in front of pure reasoning. Someone needs to sue them for continuing this unreasonable practice.
                                            Reply
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