A new press notification released by TRAI summarizes new rules for telecom companies conducting free "tests" for users to try out their data and call platforms. Journalist Rohin Dharmakumar noted with some irony that these rules come too late to enforce against Reliance Jio, but is timed to prevent any future new players from trying the same strategy in India's telecom market. The tests that Jio had conducted last year got the company off to a strong start, netting it over 4 million subscribers. Under the new rules of TRAI, such tests are now illegal.
TRAI in its updated rules says that the "number of test subscribers that can be enrolled by a telecom service provider in an area" for such tests "should be limited to 5% of its installed network capacity."
The COAI in response noted that while the rules are useful, "they may have come too late." These new rules are coming into force even as the telecom department is about to meet officials from Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone India to hear their pleas against the TRAI's recommendation of a Rs 3,050 crore cumulative penalty for allegedly denying sufficient points of interconnection (PoI) to Reliance Jio Infocomm.