Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal today called on Trai Chairman R S Sharma amid an ongoing tussle between incumbent operators and new entrant Reliance Jio over network connectivity.
“PIOs (points of inter-connect) have already been issued and more points of inter-connect are being privided… 2,100 POIs have already been given and a demand note for another 1,000 POIs went out yesterday. So, the process is going on,” Mittal said after the 20-minute meeting with Sharma.
With less than 10 days to go before the mega spectrum auction kicks off, Mittal termed 700 mHz band as “very expensive”, but declined to divulge whether it will bid for the band.
Asked by when he expects the inter-connect issue to be sorted out, he said: “Give it a few days… there are testing processes, demand notes are sent, payments are made… things are going on.”
Elaborating, Mittal said: “The POIs are being opened very fast… We have to also see the quality for our own costumers.”
He claimed that the POIs that are being given or have already been given are sufficient to service 25-32 million customers. Mittal, however, declined to comment on the details of the meeting with Sharma.
Asked if he raised the issue of alleged predatory pricing by the new entrant, he replied: “I did not raise it.”
On escalation of war of words in the telecom sector, the Bharti chief felt that it has been de-escalated as “everyone is talking to everyone”.
“More meetings are going on. As far as Mukesh Ambani and I are concerned, we meet very regularly,” he added.
Playing down the charges by Reliance Jio that incumbent operators were refusing mobile number portability, Mittal said: “The portability issue pertains to 60-70 cases. I don’t know what is causing the delay or the reason, 60-70 applications pertaining to portability will be resolved.”
Responding to another query on competitive pressure from Reliance Jio’s offer of free voice calls, Mittal said his teams will respond appropriately.