The ongoing fight between the incumbent operators like Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular on the one hand and Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm has reached the Prime Minister’s Office.
The Cellular Operators Association of India, an association of which even RJio is a member but which is dominated by the top three operators, on Thursday wrote to Nripendra Misra, principal secretary to the prime minister, complaining of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s bias in favour of new operators, and sought a meeting with him to resolve their concerns.
Urging for a meeting with Misra, COAI has urged in its letter that the resolution of their concerns will “enable the industry to progress further towards achieving the Digital India Vision of the government”. It has said that the bias by the regulator comes at a time when the department of telecommunications has played a stellar role in formulating a progressive regulatory environment that has enabled the growth of telecom services in the country.
It has highlighted policy measures like spectrum trading, sharing, active infrastructure sharing, efforts to provide government buildings for putting up sites as being supportive and designed to facilitate growth of the industry.
COAI has not explicitly named RJio, the new entrant, but said that Reliance Jio has a view divergent from theirs.
As is known, COAI in the last few days issued a statement expressing its anguish against the recent moves of the Trai, which it views as biased; it subsequently wrote to DoT about the bias and even complained that RJio’s test launch services were nothing but commercial services in the guise of free trial services, which is dumping traffic on their networks thus creating problems for their paid subscribers. On Wednesday, RJio had issued a strong rebuttal to COAI’s charges stating that the incumbent operators wanted to sabotage the launch of its services.