As we’d hinted, Reliance Jio yet again tried to stand itself on the shaky legs of freebies, with it’s Jio Summer Surprise Offer. But TRAI has instructed it to withdraw the offer, as well as the additional benefits it gave.
There is a catch in that as well – those who have already subscribed for the offer still get to keep it.
The Jio Summer Surprise Offer was basically an extension of the Happy New Year Offer – offering three more months of freebies.
Users could get unlimited mobile data (with 1 GB of Mobile Data, everyday) for free, 100 SMS’ per day, as well as free access to Jio’s suite of apps, such as Jio Cinema and Jio Music – all for three more months.
The catch, this time, however was that this was only available for Jio Prime members, who purchased the 303 (or higher) prepaid recharge or enrolled in the 303 (or higher) postpaid plan.
Perhaps struggling with the low climb-on rate for their Prime membership, Jio had also extended the registration date for their Prime offer by 15 days. They were calling it a grace period, to supposedly allow those who haven’t been able to register for the Prime offer yet.
The move to extend the deadline, was not a shocker, to anyone. Given how Jio Prime seemed to be struggling to garner the same response as Jio itself did initially, it was quite expected.
In a rare execution of power and an even more gratifying industry-first stand, the TRAI asked Jio to withdraw the offer on the grounds that it was no longer feasible for the telecom industry to afford the kind of practices that Jio has been upto.
The Authority observed that any fall in industry revenue would negatively impact investment and loan repayment capacity, which may result in defaults on loans and spectrum purchase charges owed by operators to the government.
“Today, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has advised Jio to withdraw the three months’ complimentary benefits of Jio Summer Surprise”, the company said in a statement. “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”.
So, no more people can register for the Jio Summer Surprise offer, nor for the Prime membership. But those who have already subscribed to it before the mandated withdrawal will still be able to continue on the offer and enjoy it’s promised benefits and discounts. “All customers who subscribed before discontinuation will remain eligible for the offer,” says the Jio announcement.
Moves like these, however, begged the question of how long did Jio plan to run itself on the backbone of freebies?!
Had Jio not extended the Happy New offer, in addition to announcing the Prime freebies, we perhaps would have been less critical of them. But this extension, that got quashed only after TRAI said so, seemed to drive home the matter that Chip-Monks has been stating for a while now – Jio is dangling freebies as candy for people.
It’s claiming that the candy is not free anymore, but the truth is that it’s just dirt cheap. Paying INR 303 for the minimum recharge, plus INR 99 for Prime membership, to get three months of everything-unlimited – Data, calling and texting, in exchange for INR 400, is the definition of dirt cheap candy.
Yes, people would have signed up for it, but not necessarily because they loved, or appreciated Jio’s services. It would have been more because they would’ve found it really pleasant on their pockets, and who in the world minds cheap internet, even if it is not the best?
However, we must give Jio some credit for overhauling the Indian telecom market, with the scramble it unleashed, from which Indian customers certainly benefited.
The question though, remains. For how long will Jio rely on dangling candy?
At the end of the day, there’s something that Jio’s not getting – the network sucks, calls don’t connect, calls are impeded by choppy connectivity so much so, one needs to hang up the call, fish out the other phone, and resume the conversation. If anything, it’s made a lot of us value our existing (primary) telecom operators a wee bit more!
Jio: How about investing some of that candy back into sweetening the services and the service – proving a wholesome meal that nourishes, rather than just offering an after-dinner mint? Or worse, be relegated to being just a topic of conversation around the dinner table?