Jio Jamboree to continue

Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Jio Infocomm has extended its free voice and data offer for both new and existing subscribers till March 31, 2017, intensifying the brutal price war in telecom sector and causing shares of India's largest mobile phone operators to tumble.
Addressing about 400 employees and partners in a townhall, which was beamed live on YouTube and TV channels, Ambani accused incumbent telcos (Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea) of indulging in anti-competitive behaviour that had deprived customers access to Jio's `superior voice technology'. “In the last 3 months, nearly 900 crore voice calls from Jio customers to the networks of our three largest competitors were blocked,“ he said.
In his over 20-minute speech, Ambani, the richest Indian, also lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi's demonetisation move, calling it a “bold“ and “historic“ decision which has “given the strongest push to growth of digitally enabled, optimal-cash economy in India“.
The Reliance Industries chairman said all those subscribing to the telco's new `Happy New Year' offer between December 4 and March 3 will get a slew of services including voice, data as well as the full bouquet of Jio apps and content free up to March 31, 2017. Jio's existing 52 million subscribers will automatically migrate to the new offer from the New Year. The only change will be that free data will be capped at 1GB a day -compared with the 4GB cap earlier -beyond which data speed will slow down substantially to 128 kbps. A consumer will need to pay to keep getting faster speeds for data beyond the daily cap.
As per existing regulations, a telco can run a promotional offer for a maximum period of 90 days. But legal experts say that while each offer must end within 90 days, it can be replaced with a similar plan under a different name with some tweaks.
Analysts said the extension of Jio's free offer will heighten the already intense competition in the industry, hurting Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea and Reliance Communications, which have seen initial signs of churn in their subscriber numbers. The pace of their data revenue growth has slowed down while data tariffs are under severe pressure.
Ambani claimed that Jio has had a stellar start and has added 6 lakh customers a day since its commercial launch on September 5. But he slammed incumbent telcos for not providing the new entrant with adequate points of interconnection (PoIs) needed to complete calls made from it to other operators, leading to huge call failures.
Ambani added that following the intervention and instruction of authorities to incumbent telcos to provide sufficient PoIs, the situation has improved. Call failures have dropped to around 20% as of November 30, from over 90%.

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