Reliance Jio may extend free voice and data offer till March 2017: Analysts


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New telecom entrant Reliance Jio Infocomm may extend its free 'welcome offer' beyond December to March end 2017 to meet 100 million subscriber target, analysts said.

“Mass scale free welcome offer could continue until March 2017 to attract subscriber growth towards the celebrated 100 million mark with RJio’s indicative data pricing at Rs 130-140 per gigabyte (GB),” Motilal Oswal analysts in a note said.

Billionaire Mukesh Ambani's telecom business Jio however recently claimed that it had boarded 16 million customers on to its network in less than a month, after a commercial foray on September 5, 2016.

The Mumbai-based telco already expressed that it might further drag ongoing free offer if the interconnection issue with incumbent operators would not resolve.

New subscribers latching to Jio's network are finding it difficult to make calls, except data services which are activated within 120-minutes of Adhaar-based e-KYC activation.

On June 21, Jio had asked existing players to provide support to interconnect an estimated 22 million of its customers by June this year, 50 million by September, 75 million by December and 100 million subscribers by March 2017.

Citi Research analysts feel that if the situation with the points of interconnection (PoI) continue with voice calls not connecting to incumbents networks, then Jio might look at ways to ensure that users do not pay unless the quality of service restores.

On the backdrop of Reliance Industries earnings, Jio's head of strategy and planning Anshuman Thakur Thursday said that Jio would not need permission from the telecom regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to extend free services beyond December.

Trai, however recently said that a telecom operator cannot offer a promotional offer for more than 90 days as per Telecommunication Tariff Order (2004) and hence Jio could not offer freebies after 3 December.

Jio, on the other hand, clarified that that the consumers would continue to get free data and calls benefits till December 31.