Fee vs Free

Let them eat free

Like bulls in a china shop, the government and regulators are disrupting companies and business models by forcing ‘free’ on them. They may end up undermining free markets


On 1 September 2016, Reliance Jio launched as the latest entrant in India’s mature, super-competitive telecom industry. And yet in a mere five months, it was able to cross 100 million subscribers in spite of close to 90% mobile penetration, globally competitive tariffs for both voice and data, efficiently run operations and over a dozen firms.

How? Because Jio’s servicesunlimited voice calls and datawere available free of cost. What might have been an open and shut case of predatory pricing in other countries was overlooked by the telecom regulator, TRAI, which bought Reliance’s explanation that Jio’s services were…

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