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Telecom operator from India’s richest man ends giving away free internet

Image: Reliance Jio

The days of free internet from Reliance Jio, the telecom operator from India’s richest man, are now behind us.

The 4G-only operator said it will be withdrawing the complimentary benefits — which included three months of free internet access — that it previously committed to with the "Jio Summer Surprise" plan.

The move comes as the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India "advises" Reliance Jio to discontinue giving away more free internet to its subscribers, the telecom operator said.

Owned by India’s largest industrial house RIL, Reliance Jio has offered free internet access to its subscribers for seven months in the nation.

The duration of the free internet, as part of company’s "welcome offer," ended last week. Reliance Jio announced that though users will have to pay now if they want to continue using its 4G service, those who pay in the next few days will be offered three months of free internet access later this year.

"We examined it and found that it was not in accordance with regulatory framework, so we advised them to stop it," TRAI chairman RS Sharma told PTI.

The move is unlikely to hurt Reliance Jio’s user base. The telecom operator said last week more than 72 million subscribers had already paid to use the service.

Additionally, Reliance Jio is still undercutting the competition by offering more enticing data plans. In a statement, Reliance said it will be "fully complying" with the regulator’s advice.

Some people are understandably not pleased, while others are just confused.

Reliance Jio must refund subscribers ₹303 as soon as possible for misleading Hoinga Hoinga offer

— Vishu (@PakkaMumbaikar) April 7, 2017

.@reliancejio Just recharged both my numbers. One with Rs 303 while another Rs 499 scheme and the recharge was super quick. Do it before servers go down.

— Amit Bhawani (@amitbhawani) April 6, 2017