Telecom operator Vodafone today complained to Trai that Reliance Jio is still “luring customers” to subscribe the ‘Summer Surprise’ offer despite the regulator finding it in violation of norms. “Reliance Jio is continuing with this offer held as not meeting regulatory norms, in the garb of configuration changes. For past three days, it has been promoting and luring customers to quickly recharge to avail the benefits of a non-compliant offer and also asking its retailers to communicate the same,” Vodafone said in a letter to Trai.
The letter also referred to SMSes allegedly being sent by Reliance Jio to consumers and retailers asking them to quickly recharge to avail the benefit of the scheme. An SMS content reads that Jio has given time till April 10 to its customers for enrolling for the scheme.
The Mukesh Ambani-led Jio on March 31 had announced that the customers who were yet to register for its “Prime Membership Plan” will have time till April 15 to join the scheme by paying Rs 99 and recharging with a minimum of Rs 303, which will get them 3-month complimentary 4G service.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) asked Jio on April 6 to stop the offer as it was not in compliance with the norms.
“In our view, such promotion of the customers on an offer held as non-compliant, is a blatant violation and disregard of Trai’s advisory. Such promotions to customers makes the regulatory advisory meaningless,” the letter said.
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Vodafone said that Reliance Jio’s continuation of the scheme paints a wrong picture to customers of non-robust regulatory framework where non-complaint offers are allowed to be sold in the market.
“Considering above, we request for Trai’s immediate intervention and issuance of suitable directions to Reliance Jio for withdrawing the said offer on immediate basis and notifying the consumers about withdrawal of said offer from the date of advisory received from Trai,” the letter said.
When contacted, Reliance Jio spokesperson said the telco in its press release on April 6 made it clear that the ‘Summer Surprise’ offer will be withdrawn as soon as it is operationally feasible, in compliance with the regulator’s advice.
“All the customers who have subscribed to the ‘Summer Surprise’ prior to its discontinuation will remain eligible for the offer. We are pained to note such continued and deliberate attempts by competitors to create unnecessary confusion in the market,” the spokesperson said. Vodafone, however, declined to comment on the letter it sent to the regulator.
Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal also met today Trai chairman R S Sharma and believed to have discussed a range of issues, including the Jio offer, according to sources.