The spat between Reliance Jio Infocomm and Bharti Airtel continues with the former alleging the latter is denying requests for mobile number portability (MNP) and charging the telco has sought unilateral changes in the interconnect agreement. Bharti Airtel has refuted the allegations.
In a statement Reliance Jio said that based on the current traffic flow between the two networks, the proposed augmentation by Airtel would only suffice for less than one-fourth of the required interconnection capacity. “Furthermore, Airtel has also been blocking the mobile number portability (“MNP”) facility for its subscribers wishing to subscribe to Jio services on baseless and unsubstantiated grounds,” the statement said.
Reliance Jio believes the new interconnect agreement although stating that three times the current number of points of interconnect (PoI) will be provided, would actually turn out to be half that number. As such, while a Bharti Airtel’s subscriber call to a Reliance Jio user would go through, the reverse would not take place, the Mumbai-based company alleges. The statement comes a day after Bharti Airtel said it has received payments from Reliance Jio and would provide more PoIs as sought by the new entrant.
The additional capacity will enable Reliance Jio to serve more than 15 million users, Bharti had said.
Bharti said it was awaiting a response from Reliance Jio to initiate testing the PoIs. “However, it is Jio that seems to be dilly-dallying on the issue and not cooperating deliberately. It appears that the constant rhetoric may be a ploy by Jio to cover up some technical issues in their own network, which is causing call failures, by constantly blaming other operators.
In addition, call drops or the lack of VoLTE stabilisation should not be hidden behind the issue of POIs, which are being augmented at regular and quick intervals,” Bharti said.
On Sunday, however, Reliance Jio cited the regulator as saying the interconnect points should be provided urgently for it to maintain quality of service parameters. The company also alleged Bharti Airtel was abusing its dominant market position by insisting on “certain unilateral deviations” in the bilateral agreement, which could impact Reliance Jio’s expansion plans. Bharti says it has ensured that there is no capacity constraint from its side.
Bharti is also blocking MNP requests “on baseless and unsubstantiated grounds” which is “anti-competitive behaviour” Reliance Jio said. In response, Bharti said Reliance Jio’s allegations that it was blocking 69 odd port-out requests “sounds rather flimsy” as it ports-in and ports-out thousands of customers everyday from across operators.
“In spite of above, RJIL shall continue to work with Airtel and all the other incumbent operators to resolve this issue at the earliest and ensure that Indian customers get best-in-class services,” Reliance Jio said. “Airtel must also immediately make available MNP to all its subscribers opting to port to RJIL in accordance with the license terms and MNP regulations,” the company said.