TDSAT asks TRAI to re-examine Jio offers; SEBI greenlights RCOM/Aircel merger

16 Mar 2017

India’s Telecom Settlement & Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has asked sector watchdog the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to re-examine Reliance Jio Infocomm’s (Jio’s) controversial promotion offers, the Economic Times writes. The regulator’s findings are to be submitted to the court within the next two weeks. The request relates to an appeal from Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular, respectively the nation’s leading and third-largest cellcos by subscribers, claiming that Jio’s offers violated regulations by lasting more than 90 days. Jio’s ‘Welcome Offer’ ran from 5 September to 31 December 2016, when it was replaced by the near-identical ‘Happy New Year Offer’, which covers 1 January to 31 March 2017. The TRAI has previously stated that Jio’s offers did not break the 90-day rule, sparking outcry from the incumbents, which accused the regulator of being a ‘mute spectator’. Indeed, the plea currently being heard by TDSAT also called for the TRAI to produce all records related to its decision on the legality of Jio’s promotions.

In other regulatory developments, meanwhile, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has approved the planned merger of the wireless business of Reliance Communications (RCOM) and Aircel.