Rishi Ranjan Kala
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has not found any fault with Reliance Jio’s latest tariff plan, called Dhan Dhana Dhan. Sources aware of the developments told FE that the offer is quite distinct from Jio’s previous offer, Summer Surprise, and upon examination of it the regulator has not found anything in it that violates regulatory norms. The Summer Surprise offer, which was announced on April 1 by Jio, was rolled back by the company at the behest of Trai on April 6.
“The Dhan Dhana Dhan offer is a clear tariff plan which offers subscribers 1 GB data a day for 84 days on a recharge of Rs 309. The other variant of the offer is 2 GB data for the same duration for Rs 509. Tariffs are under forbearance and Trai does not interfere with them so long they do not violate any regulatory norm. Dhan Dhana Dhan does not violate any such norm,” a source said.
Explaining the difference between Summer Surprise and Dhan Dhana Dhan, which otherwise appear quite similar, the source said that “Summer Surprise was neither a tariff plan nor a promotional offer. It was a mix of two, which is not allowed, and hence Trai stopped it.” After announcing in March that it would start charging customers for its services from April 1, Jio had launched a tariff plan that offered 1 GB data a day for a monthly payment of Rs 303.
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Later, on April 1, the company said that whoever has paid Rs 303 would get complimentary services for three months. This effectively meant that upon payment of the amount in April, subscribers would get free service in May, June and July and only pay next in August. This is what Trai found objectionable, meaning that a tariff plan cannot be combined with a promotional offer and, secondly, a promotional offer cannot continue beyond 90 days.
After calling off Summer Surprise on April 6, Jio came with a new tariff plan on April 11 called Dhan Dhana Dhan, which offered 1 GB data for 84 days upon payment of Rs 309, which was quite similar to Summer Surprise barring that there was no complimentary benefit in it. Due to the matter being under intense scrutiny, Trai decided to examine whether it violated any regulatory norms as Summer Surprise did and has found that it does not. Sources said that Trai has taken a view that there’s no regulatory provision which mandates that there needs to be a floor rate for charges and operators can offer services at any rate so far regulatory norms are not violated.