Reliance Jio stops Summer Surprise scheme: 5 things to know

Reliance Jio on Thursday withdrew its Summer Surprise offer, which was announced last week, under which Jio Prime members would be provided complimentary services for three months starting April 1.

The move comes in response to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (Trai’s) advice. 

Here are 5 things you should know: 

1) What was the scheme all about: Under the scheme, all Prime members making their first recharge payment of Rs 303 (or higher) would have got three months’ complimentary services in addition to the benefits of their purchased plan. 

Jio had announced its Jio Summer Surprise offer on March 31. 

Looking at the unprecedented rush of subscription, the company had also extended the deadline to buy Jio's Rs 303 (and other) plans till April 15.

2) Those who already subscribed will not be hit: All customers who have already subscribed to the offer would continue to be eligible for it, the company said. 

"Jio accepts this decision. Jio is in the process of fully complying with the regulator's advice, and will be withdrawing the three months complimentary benefits of Jio Summer Surprise as soon as operationally feasible, over the next few days," the company said in a statement, adding, "All customers who have subscribed to Jio Summer Surprise offer prior to its discontinuation will remain eligible for the offer."

3) A lot of Prime members to be affected: According to Reliance Jio Infocomm, as on March 31, over 72 million Jio customers had signed up for Jio Prime. These numbers were clocked in just one month, making it "one of the most successful customer privilege programmes anywhere in the world". 

Analysts are anticipating that Jio will retain 50-60 million customers after the end of its free period. 

4) Why did Trai move against the scheme: The complimentary offers by Jio in the past have been a bone of contention with rivals Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular. The two companies appealed to the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) against Trai’s clean chit to Jio’s free offers 

The TDSAT last month asked Trai to clarify whether Jio had informed it and its subscribers of the two free offers — “Jio Welcome Offer” and “Jio Happy New Year Offer” — being “distinct”. 

Trai had approved Jio’s free voice calling and data plan on its mobile services, claiming it was not a violation of the regulatory guidelines on promotional offers. The issue of Jio’s promotional offers disrupting the telecom market and adversely impacting the government revenue from the mobile operators in the form of spectrum usage charge was flagged by the then telecom secretary J S Deepak. 

5) Jio is not stopping: Jio, according to analysts, could have well over 100 million paid subscribers by March 2018.

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