Indian regulator TRAI has effectively blocked Reliance Jio’s free offer for new signups to its Prime membership.
Jio has confirmed that it will comply with TRAI’s suggestion that it shelves its ‘Summer Surprise’ promotion, which would have provided new Prime subscribers with three months of free service. The operator noted that it would still honour the offer for customers that signed up prior to the cancellation announcement.
Last week, Jio pushed back the deadline for Prime subscriptions by two weeks, having launched the service in February. Prime members receive free voice and unlimited data for a year, paying INR303 a month along with a signup fee of INR99 ($1.48). The service has attracted 72 million subscribers in just over five weeks.
Jio’s strategy of offering free voice and data has shaken up the Indian market and drawn the ire of its key competitors, including market leader Bharti Airtel, which filed a complaint against Jio’s ‘predatory’ pricing with the competition watchdog in February. TRAI had previously thrown out complaints from Airtel and Idea Cellular that decried the extension of Jio’s free service offer.