In a big breakthrough in the ongoing telecom tussle, Bharti Airtel has agreed to provide additional PoIs (Points of Interconnect) to Reliance Jio. Airtel has said that it is committed to complying with the regulations and interconnect agreements. It has however expressed hope that the TRAI will look into the issue of asymmetric traffic urgently. Bharti Airtel’s move will come as a big boost to Reliance Jio, which has been alleging that major telecom players are not providing PoIs to it.
Commenting on Airtel’s decision, Rajan Mathews of COAI (Cellular Operators Association of India) has said, “Any step which improves services for customers is a welcome one. I believe that post the meeting between TRAI and operators, the POI issue is being addressed.” “Operators want the issue of asymmetric traffic to be addressed on urgent basis,” he added.
Last week TRAI had called a meeting of Reliance Jio and the major incumbent telecom players such as Bharti Airtel, Idea and Vodafone. Hitting out at Reliance Jio on interconnect issue, Bharti Airtel had asked TRAI to find a way to curb the “massive asymmetric traffic” and ensure that receiving networks are not “abused by tsunami of free traffic”. The company had said it was “grateful” to Trai for enabling a constructive dialogue today on the matter of providing PoIs to Reliance Jio.
Reliance Jio had accused GSM operators of denying interconnection to its customers. “It’s a fight for customers, justice and not for any particular operator. We have raised the issue of interconnect points with TRAI,” Reliance Jio said after the meeting. The incumbent operators, under the aegis of COAI, have locked horns with the new entrant Reliance Jio – which has charted an aggressive tariff and roll out strategy for 4G services – over points of interconnect or connectivity within various networks.