Jio extends free calls and data offer by three months

02 December 2016 | James Pearce


Reliance Jio Infocomm has extended a free data and voice services offer for new and existing customers that could escalate India’s telecoms price war.

In a YouTube video, Reliance chairman Mukesh ambani said that both existing customers and those joining the operator, which launched services in October, will get free voice and data until 31 March 2017.

LTE provider Jio is calling it the “Jio Happy New Year offer”, an updated version of the “Welcome offer” promotion which was launched in September.

But the extension of the offer could come under scrutiny from the Indian regulator due to limits on how long telecoms incentives can run for.

Trai limits offers to three months, and chairman RS Sharma told the Economic Times the regulator will look at Jio's new offer once the company submits its new tariff plans.

India’s richest man Ambani also used the address to take aim at rival operators, who the Reliance chairman accused of failing to support inter-connectivity agreements with the challenger operator. He claimed their behaviour had been “anti-competitive” and was preventing from delivering on his promise of providing the “best customer and service experience”.

In September he demanded more interconnections with rivals, claiming a high level of calls from Jio customers were blocked by Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular.

“We have not received the required support from existing operators. In the last three months, nearly nine billion calls from Jio customers to the networks of our three largest competitors were blocked. The benefits of Jio's superior voice technology have been denied to Indian customers due to such anti-competitive behaviour of incumbent operators,” Ambani said.

Jio added more than 50 million subscribers to its network in just 83 days, but is still some way behind rivals Airtel (262 million), Vodafone (201 million) and Idea Cellular (180 million). However, it took Airtel 12 years to hit that figure, while Vodafone and Idea each took 13 years.