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 have also reportedly said that Reliance Jio may continue with its promotional offers. While a TRAI directive says that any free services plan cannot extend beyond 90 days, Citi Research analysts have reported Reliance Industries management as saying that there are no restrictions on the number of promotional offers. It appears that Reliance Jio feels that unless it is able to deliver quality service to customers, it is unfair to charge them.
Recently, Vodafone , Airtel among others had approached the TRAI against Reliance Jio’s free call service, but since the latter decided to stop offering free services beyond December 3, TRAI did not take any action. “The revised offer of free services by Reliance Jio has been limited to 90 days i.e. December 3, 2016 and therefore is consistent with the guidelines on promotional offers,” TRAI had said. However, Reliance Jio had assured its customers that while it will stop its free services ‘Welcome Offer’ by December 3, those who sign up for it before that date will be eligible for free calls and services till December 31. But as stated above, analysts widely believe that Reliance Jio may find a way to extend its free services till March 2017 to get more people on board.