The country’s third-largest operator, Idea Cellular, on Monday said it has given an additional 196 points of interconnection (PoI) to Reliance Jio Infocomm to help the new entrant expand its capacity to 6.5 million users, even while the former is incurring huge costs on termination due to the increase in traffic.
The company said that in August 2016 there were a total of 2.97 million unique Jio subscribers who terminated calls on the Idea network. “Our current allocation of PoIs would in normal circumstances cater to 4.65 million such subscribers indicating a buffer of 57% in calling capacity. Idea has now decided to proactively, expand capacity with Jio to over 6.5 million subscribers, with the release of 196 additional PoIs, shortly. This additional capacity will provide for a buffer of 119% against the August subscriber volumes,” Idea Cellular said in a statement.
The development comes after the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India brokered peace between the top three operators – Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular – over providing additional PoIs to Reliance Jio, on Friday.
Idea Cellular, however, said that it has informed the sectoral regulator that there is a “high level of traffic asymmetry” while its real cost of termination is significantly higher than the current interconnect settlement charge of R0.14 per minute as prescribed by regulations, which in turn could lead to loss for the company in the coming months. “We are hopeful that the Trai will urgently examine these threshold issues and will ensure that all parties are compliant to the letter and spirit of the law,” it added.
On Friday, Bharti Airtel had said, “Following the commercial charging of services by Reliance Jio, which is expected by Jan 1, 2017, the traffic will inevitably get to a more balanced level and PoIs will be less of an issue. In the interim, we continue with our efforts to augment the hundreds of PoIs already given to Reliance Jio, as per the bilateral agreement, so that customers are not inconvenienced. We urge the Trai to find a way to curb the massive asymmetric traffic to ensure that receiving networks are not abused by tsunami of free traffic.”