Trai has sought clarifications and explanations from the Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio Info comm over the company's free-calling offer as it differs from the Rs 1.20-per-minute voice tariff plan filed with the regulator. Senior Trai officials met Reliance Jio executives over the matter and sought details of the tariff plan filed by the company, sources told TOI. "The issue is under discussion," one source said.
Jio has printed 2 paise-per-second call plan (Rs 1.20-per-minute) on SIM card brochures that it hands out to customers. Jio did not answer a query on why there is a difference between the tariff plans it had filed with the regulator and its announcement of free calls. Jio may have to tackle an issue related to an amendment to the telecom tariff order that Trai made in 2004. According to this, telecom companies cannot have tariffs below the interconnect user charge (IUC), or the charge that a mobile operator pays to another for terminating its calls. The IUC rate is currently 14 paise per minute, while Jio has made calls free.
Sources said Jio officials may soon make changes in their tariff plans, which would be intimidated to Trai. Rival telecom companies have also accused Jio of engaging in predatory practices by offering free voice calls. However, sources said the regulator does not find any merit in this allegation, considering that Jio is a new entrant with a small market share. "This charge holds true if it is levelled against a dominant player," a source said.