Telecom tribunal TDSAT on Friday asked sector regulator Trai to decide on Reliance Jio’s free 4G service within a “reasonable time”.
Tribunal’s observation came after TRAI sought more time citing that it is dealing with similar complaints filed before it and ten days time-frame granted by TDSAT to take a final decision on the issue was not enough.
Meanwhile, the tribunal also issued notices over the impleadment application filed by Reliance Jio to make them a party in the ongoing matter.
The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal bench comprising members B B Srivastava and A K Bhargava has granted two weeks’ time to leading telecom operator Airtel, a petitioner in the matter, to file counter reply over Reliance Jio’s plea to impleadment in it.
The bench heard arguments of both sides Airtel and Trai and posted the matter on February 1 for the next hearing as the regulator sought more time to decide on the matter. The tribunal has directed the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to take a stand on Reliance Jio’s free 4G offer in reasonable time.
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for Trai submitted that a large number of similar applications filed before the regulator warranting similar action and 10 days for taking a call and a final decision is not sufficient enough, some more time is required by TRAI to apprise Tribunal.
The TDSAT direction came while hearing a petition filed by Bharti Airtel, which has moved the tribunal against Trai’s decision allowing Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio to continue with its free promotional offer beyond the stipulated 90 days, alleging that the regulator acted as “a mute spectator” to violations.
In its 25-page petition before the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT), Airtel had asked the quasi-judicial body to direct Trai to ensure Jio does not provide its free voice and data plan beyond December 3.
In the petition, Airtel had alleged that Trai in its decision dated October 20 “erroneously” concluded that since Jio’s promotional offer of free services was only valid till December 3, it is consistent with the direction for 90 days.
At the outset Ramji Srinivasan appearing for Reliance Jio, submitted that they are a necessary and a proper party in the matter and needs to be impleaded as any decision is likely to affect them.
The bench asked Airtel to file counter to impleadment within two weeks and rejoinder if any within within one week.